Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear Bravo, Dear Viewer: Season Five and How Teresa Can Save her ass in Court.

Season 5 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey?  It sucked. It's FAKE. FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKE. And yet I hate-watched every episode, and will watch the stupid 90 minute finale. (what the hell is wrong with me? Even Bravo Andy admitted that he skipped the last episode to watch The Emmys with NPH. ).

In case anyone doesn't get this, Google, "frankenbytes"-(how they splice and edit to make characters say anything they want....and the timeline for this season has been so transparently screwed-with, (cast went to Arizona in March  AFTER the stuff in the last few episodes like the "Penny"-crap.

Teresa and Joe in a car-ride saying something like, "When we went to Arizona"----but (supposedly), on the way to this "everyone hates Penny event" that happened in January which we all know because an assault led to Real court charges? UH-no. Just NOT.Changing the events of TIME is not reality in this dimension.

Yeah--so Bravo isn't even TRYING to be "real".

WHY? One of my theories is that Bravo is tired of dealing-with trouble with "the law" for their network and their cast-members? So maybe Bravo has embraced the "we are really fake", to throw off those who would examine things closely? Are they tired of the scrutiny? Other fake reality shows don't get it as bad because other "reality" shows have been more honest about; "yeah-we're not really "reality" so hop off ! ".

In any event-it stinks. All that is left is to look at their ugly mugs, and last year's clothes. Eventually, I predict that reality actors like The Housewives, will receive a class-action settlement. Because they DO improvise many of their lines, and they are not being given writing credit or pay for that.


PART TWO: The Real Stuff

Meanwhile there have been some interesting things going-on for Real Housewives of New Jersey cast members in their real-real lives. Like the indictments on Teresa and Joe Giudice.

1)-There is a reason why certain forms of credit got the name, "liar loans", and that was before anyone ever heard of Teresa & Joe. What I'm about to divulge is really a GIFT to Teresa, and I'm ambivalent about offering credible defense to someone who blew ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS on HERSELF basically.

Where do you and I get OUR $11,000000? And would we spend it on WORTHLESS designer, expensive CRAP for ourselves? I know that I wouldn't. OK-maybe a little, but the rest of it goes straight to WORLD PEACE! And feeding hungry people. And rescuing cats. (insert your favorite charity here).

Well Teresa, I have news for you, spending all that $$ didn't make you look classy at all. What did redeem Teresa, a little, was her hustle, and her individual style of doing it. She got out there and worked-it! Was it the redemption plot that I personally wanted to see? No. But I can't hold that against them.
I wanted to see them move into the pizza-parlor, and spend within their means-(which were negative eleven million), and deal with THAT. Maybe I should just hang it up and watch Trailer Park Boys on Netflix instead?

OK, so here it is, about Teresa being accused of signing false documents that stated that she was working when SHE WAS NOT WORKING in 2008?

HOLD UP HERE BITCHES. IF Teresa is found GUILTY of this, this affects us ALL. 

As a matter of fact, I personally REFUSED to sign my own TAX-RETURNS in around 2008, because my accountant had ERRONEOUSLY listed MY occupation as, "HOUSEWIFE"! I made him change it to "HOMEMAKER". THAT is the crux of my legal argument here.
Can YOU afford to let the law say that Teresa Didn't WORK?

HOW could Teresa NOT have been WORKING? She was a HOMEMAKER, wasn't she? She was also having babies and taking care of them during the years that she is being accused-of NOT WORKING. (are you guys starting to follow my logic here? I sure HOPE so for HOMEMAKERS everywhere sake).

So, maybe there was a mistake on those W2s that listed, "M.E. Industries", as Teresa's employer? Personally, I call my HOMEMAKING business "My Homemaking company", and deduct and I PAY MYSELF WHAT I'M WORTH accordingly. Its all very correct and very legal and WE DESERVE TO BE PAID FOR OUR WORK DON'T WE?

If you said "no"---stop. Go read "Smelly Melly"-Melissa Gorga's new book which needs to be recalled and SHREDDED! I guess they can't afford a good publicist, because instead-of addressing the BOMBSHELL that was dropped on them by Jezebel about pig,telling people that when a woman says "NO"--to just rape her, instead-of some plausible lie, like someone hacked my book, they are creating new eggs on Twitter to annoy people who complain.-there is no good way to end this post, it all just makes me MAD. Thanks for reading it♥

Monday, March 25, 2013

Married to Medicine:Aspirations to a Divorce from Bravo

I tuned-in to last night's premiere of Bravo's latest reality series, Married to Medicine and about half-way through I remarked that I would rather be homeless than have to live like the women on that show.

Apparently, in Atlanta, if you are a woman, being married to a doctor is like being in the Witness Protection Program and once the ring goes on your finger, your identity is taken away. (complete with plastic surgery physical transformation of course)

The plot revolved around the new-girl, who's name I won't bother to mention, because it really doesn't matter since she has no identity except that-of "doctor's wife". Her cohorts are apparently disturbed because new-girl doesn't know how to act the way that she should they want her to act.

This hazing is supposedly designed to make a proper doctor's wife out of a girl from the ghetto. How being bullied, teased, and interrogated by a bunch of elitist snobby bitches transforms one into their idea of how one should act, I don't know. Clearly they wanted a reaction, and yes, the woman got upset-who wouldn't?
One of them went so far as to proclaim to her face that she would never marry a man who did what new girl's husband did. (he had sent out a group-text message cancelling their wedding).

The gang decides to mentor her and give her more chances to be their victim  step up to the plate, and assume the position that she assumed by saying "I do".
I was still stunned from what I had seen while I was watching Watch What Happens Live, when Andy Cohen mentioned that The New York Times had given Married to Medicine a favorable review.  How could they? A show that is just begging to be condemned in my opinion, and the NYT calls it "entertaining"!

(I just checked that New York Times link and remembered my revulsion at the apparent fashion amongst Married to Medicine's cast. I don't care if it's politically incorrect to talk about someone's looks. If the "look" is a matter of style or fashion, of course I can comment, and those women certainly were not born with mouths that look like giant hemorrhoid-inflamed sphincters. THE EMPEROR HAS NO GODDAMN CLOTHES! and someone needs to tell these girls that rectums on your faces are NOT pretty!)

For a television network that holds itself out to be gay-friendly, Bravo's characterization of heterosexual married women, is absurd. Is it because of this gay-centric perception that they get it so very very WRONG? And no credit is given to Married to Medicine for showcasing two of the women who happen to be doctors themselves, because those women too are given the Bravo-treatment and hobbled with stilts (high-heels), and forced to wear the Bravo uniform, (no slacks allowed, false eyelashes, more makeup than a drag-queen...), just like all of the other "wives" that Bravo presents to us as their idea of what a woman is supposed to be.

Slate gets it right on their blog titled  "Hey Women, If You Really Want to Lean In, Marry a Woman". "Lean in", is the title of's current number one best seller and the recommended way of dealing-with the invisible, unbreakable glass-ceiling.

Here's what Slate says about "leaning in":

"...the elegant solution of professional women refusing to have children until someone fixes this situation has been taken off the table. It's a major conundrum. So why not look to men for answers? Men have managed the sticky situation of both having a job and having a home life for decades now. Their solution is possibly even more elegant in its simplicity than the "don't have children" one: Marry a woman...."
Are they joking or just looking for more options in the never ending quest for women who want to "have it all"? 
Lean In is not so much about "having it all", as it is about equality. Or maybe more about the lack-of equality between the sexes in the business world. But Lean In is not your typical feministic (meaning angry and aggressive) battle cry. No, author and executive big-shot Sheryl Sandberg didn't get to the top of the best-seller list with vinegar-she "leaned"-there.
Sandberg is correct that our country needs to have this conversation. The fact that a book of this topic being so widely received is the proof. But the best advice that she's got is to "lean in"? I'm having a little bit of trouble understanding that. The idea of "leaning-in", in my mind conjures up Little Wayne sipping a little bit of cough medicine and smoking a blunt. OK-maybe Little Wayne leans back, a little too far-but "leaning in" just feels like having a little something and depending which way you lean-it could go either way. And either way, you're dopey.

Dopey, of course being one of the Seven Dwarfs, brings me back to the topic here. Which is/was Married to Medicine-the television show. And the state of women, and how they are portrayed and perceived especially when it comes-to Bravo. Snow White, being the Disney Princess that she is, married the Prince, and lived happily ever after of course. But Snow White had helpers! Seven of them, and also some animated birds and characters.

Bravo has featured homosexual couples of both sexes, Brad Goreski and Jackie Warner-to name two members of that set. Slate responds to Lean In with the suggestion that women who want to achieve career goals should take wives. But the idea that in order to be considered eligible for those top executive positions, without the worry of slipping-down the ladder of success on our children's placenta, and getting caught in the umbilical cord of love that ties us to our family so strongly-The idea, that women need wives, not so much as sexual partners, but partners in the business of life, is an idea that is legally federally prohibited in the USA.

The federal law that states with certainty that women are not equal to men is called the Defense of Marriage Act (link DOMA). There is a vote on this on Wednesday in DC. This is the federal law that permits American men to solicit mail order brides (link) from foreign countries, but denies women the same right. Now maybe you aren't personally interested in a mail order bride, and I'm only interested in the idea enough to know that in the United States of America, as a woman, I am NOT allowed the same civil rights as American men have in this matter.

And maybe THAT is what ticks me off about Bravo, and their idiotic portrayal of women, wives, and Married to Medicine in general. Maybe if there really were equal rights for all people, I could agree with The New York Times about how "entertaining" it is to watch these women makes fools of themselves and their families. And although I am heartened to see that the "conversation" has been validated, the proposed solution, (lean in?), has me more than a little bit worried.

The critical response to Lean In hints at real solutions to the fact of inequality in boardrooms and executive offices. Notions of elitism, and intellectual snobbery, aimed towards the author and allegations of political ambition are made. Bravo sells it's viewers to advertisers as "aspirational". As-in, we "aspire" to what we are seeing unfold before us and therefore products placed in and around the programming, are the things we aspire to buy and/or have.

But what aspirations are they presenting us with? Obscenely expensive crippling  foot devices, disfiguring, painful unnecessary surgery on our bodies and faces, at least two layers of make-up and glued-on/taped-on/painted-on crap on our skin, with any hairy areas being either deleted or burned into whatever position is in style, plus tight-clothing and girdles. And if all of THAT isn't enough, to make it as crystalline clear as the glass ceiling, Married to Medicine, now wants women to ASPIRE to having no identity at all except as the spouse of someone else. I may not ever watch another episode of Married to Medicine, but I'm rooting for the "Ghetto Girl" in all of us to say, OH HELL NO! to what Bravo says about women and our aspirations.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Faking it With the Kardashians

Since the episode with Kim Kardashian finding a stray chihuahua who she called "Princess"-turned out to be scripted, and the story is that the dog that Kim "found", and kept really belonged to an assistant.(not a "stray" as portrayed on "E".)
And the emergency life-saving surgery left the viewers wondering about the cliff-hanger since the dog was never seen again-(full discussion here)
..."The latest episode of Kim Kardashian saving a stray dog was a complete HOAX. I just called the Vet Clinic Kim brought the dog to and they told me the dog is an E News employees pet and the dog is not sick... its ok and well.."-quote from link above
And Reality Tea spotted and documented a great report on another scripted episode :PROOF that Show is Fake...and Staged"-article here

I became a little worried when I heard the sad news that "Mercy", the cat had died.Story link Here/Mercy the cat is dead .

I was wondering how that was going to play-out, or IF it would on Keeping-up With the Kardashians. So I wasn't surprised to see the recent, "Kim is allergic to Dander"-episode, complete with a doctor's office visit and a REALISTIC-LOOKING allergy test.

Hmmmm. I said to myself. Maybe Kim really DID have an allergic-reaction? I don't know if she did or didn't but I did a little research to try and determine IF what we saw in that episode could be faked.

The Daily Mail has an article about the episode with THIS photo of the "allergic reaction"-skin-test on Kim's back (link)

It sure LOOKS like she developed a red-bump doesn't it? But then I did a little MORE research about the allergy skin-test. What I learned, is that YES, a red bump is a good indication of a positive reaction to a substance. BUT, part of the test involves a "control" prick, which is SUPPOSED to REACT! As a matter of fact, IF the "control substance" does NOT react-(in other words if there are NO red-bumps/reactions), then the test is invalid. I enlarged the Daily Mail photo of Kim's back, and it looks to me like what the viewers were told was a reaction to "cat dander"-was the control reaction, since she really does not have any other spots big enough to be "the" "control reaction. (and I'm not even a doctor! Just nosy I guess).

So. IF someone wanted to FAKE a show about someone being allergic to cats, what they COULD do is point to the CONTROL reaction, (which is usually marked with an "X" and set to the side), and say that THAT is a "dander-reaction". Here is an enlarged (modified for you © watchers!) photo of what viewers saw next to a patient who has several reactions and a control reaction marked "X". See below:

I know that I usually don't blog about Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but I DO keep up with them every once in awhile. This week I saw a screaming YELLOW! tabloid headline about KIM having a 22 million Dollar Baby! or some such nonsense-it was a great cover and really caught my eye! The story attached to that has crazy rumors about secret IVF treatments etc...And of course we ALL know that Kim's estranged husband allegedly wants to tell the world that the show (and the marriage), is F-A-K-E, but I'm not posting this as a "hate"-blog.

I can't help but appreciate the Kardashians for the eye-candy that they bring to the E Network, and I ♥ Rob Kardashian's Aurthur George socks-(available exclusively at Neiman Marcus). But documentation of how scripted the show really appears to be has to be done. Why? Because defining reality is not the job of actors, or families, or television networks. If it was, Keeping up With the Kardashians, would be an entirely different show ;)

Friday, January 4, 2013

If you Can't say Anything Nice...And Something Nice About Bravo

We've all heard the advice; "If you can't say anything nice-don't say anything at all." Until the phenomena of Bravolebrities, and fame-whores, in general came to my attention, I never realized the COMPLETE meaning of the old-saying.
There is a series airing on the TLC network, (if it has not been completely canceled yet), and I won't even mention the name. Nope. I won't devote a single bold-letter to name the program, because I don't want to publicize them at all. I was planning-on waiting 'till the bitter end, but trust me, they are a goner.
What this has to do with Bravo, is that the show that I'm "not saying anything at all"-about, was produced by the same company that brought us The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, AND The Real Housewives of Orange County, according to TV Fishbowl.
IF this series would have been seen on Bravo-TV, it could have been called, "The Real Housewives of Las Vegas". But Bravo declined to add these people to their franchise, and although the formula looks very-close to what we're used-to seeing in Housewife-land, these women won't ever be sitting on a couch with Andy Cohen.
Has Bravo actually developed some morals? I think they have. I congratulate Bravo for not giving that particular cast a platform on their network. The show-that-will-not-be-named, is a flop. Earning less than half-a-million viewers, and less-than three-hundred-thousand in the "important" demographics in the most recent ratings, Bravo's decision to reject this group has earned some bottom-line validation, and spared their viewers and sponsors.
I've noticed something else that has become more of a standard than a trend for The Housewives series, and that is that our Housewives children, and more importantly the exploitation of Housewives children, is no longer "mandatory".
I cannot say for sure if it was EVER a requirement that Housewives kids be as available as the women need to be in-order to qualify a gal for "Housewife"-status. But I do recall that Dina Manzo  lost her spot when her young daughter was no longer available.
For me, that instance looks-like the dividing-line between the time that it appears that Real Housewives families developed the ability to choose whether or not the children were on camera, or not, without sacrificing the opportunity.
It was only after Dina and her daughter left the New Jersey cast, that the viewers became accustomed to seeing the ladies without their offspring.
No mention has been made of any policy changes, so whether this was an intentional decision, or just a gradual adjustment to different family dynamics, such-as with Tamra on the OC wives whose ex-husband Simon decided not to grant permission for their children to appear, I really do not know. But I'd have to imagine that there must have been some type of consensus to agree to lighten-up what was previously expected.
The death of Russel Armstrong is also a major milestone on the Housewives timeline.  I think that there have been policy changes behind-the-scenes that can be attributed to consideration of Armstrong's suicide.
Now if they, (Bravo), would only officially find a way to embrace some kind-of disclaimer that would give their reality-talent a way to save-face in their real lives! There is no doubt in my mind that there are some Real Housewives' children, who have had to explain to their real-life friends and acquaintances, that their mom is not really "crazy", or a "whore", or any other of the negative labels that us "haters", (or their cast-mates, or the editors...), might apply. I would just LOVE to see THAT scene played-out haha! Instead-of seeing Ashley telling us that her mom is a drama-queen/shit-stirrer; to see one-of Danielle Staub's daughters explaining that her mom is just playing-the-part of a villain, and bringing drama to the show-which has GOT to be what ANY family-member, or cast-member, who's been portrayed badly would do. Wouldn't they?
Using my imaginary remote-viewing of what logically HAS to be how a Bravoleb' deals-with after-episode embarrassment in real-life, doesn't go far-enough to protect cast-members and their families from the consequences.
As long as Bravo maintains the illusion of reality in the strictest sense of the word, by NOT applying a disclaimer to the entire franchise, Bravo, in my opinion, continues to harm their cast-members families.
 I DO think that Bravo has lightened-up on the explicit pronouncements of the ultimate "reality", that we are seeing in the episodes. But the facts that the word "Real", with a capital "r", is carried with the show, and that the Housewives remain "in character" outside of the production, for interviews, reunions etc. demand that the "fourth wall" has got to be addressed.
I'm not the first person who has equated the truth of reality-performers with professional wrestlers, but wrestling has been granted an exception when it comes to versimilistude. Magicians are another category of performer who require that we suspend disbelief, in order to enjoy the act. Pro-wrestling and Illusion are both ancient forms of entertainment, and the permission to deceive for the sake of entertainment was granted long-ago by our ancestors.
Television, and TV's grand-daddy, radio, in comparison is still in it's growing-stages. Reality television, the illegitimate-child of documentary journalism, is current. In comparison to all of the other forms of media and entertainment, reality-television, could still be considered to be developing. The boundary-line of "real" continues to change, and it is left up to the producers, the performers, and the viewers to decide, on a case-by-case instance. Bravo continues to hold-out for the "real"-label, with a weak connection to reality. Even the most dedicated bitch of Bravo, has heard-about instances of other networks reality series scripting and fakery being exposed. If they're going-to script & fake an auction, a weight-loss show, or a gold-mining expedition-if they can't even trust the American public to be entertained with something as un-sexy and dry as a house-hunt, or a program about Amish people, the Bravo-audience is not somehow immune from the cognitive dissonance that we willingly try to ignore.
Reality television has spawned parodies of itself. An upcoming program on BET Network bills itself as "The Fakest Reality Show Ever" . Maybe satire and parody will be the ultimate public comment on reality television as we now know it?
A paparazzo was killed this week while in pursuit of teen-age superstar Justin Beiber. Performers like Beiber are a different category of celebrity from Reality-performers in that there is an ostensible talent, that earns them their celebrity. Bravolebrities, on the other hand, are presented as real people inviting the viewers to watch and judge them in their on-screen dramas and off-screen real life story. Although Beiber is a celebrity who is in the public eye, and considered a public personality who has given-up some of his privacy in exchange for public consumption, his talent and his on-stage performance shields him in ways that people who are only "famous for being famous", are not protected. There is a risk that was taken by the photographer in pursuing Mr. Beiber's private life.
And that is where a Bravolebrity drags his/or her entire family, and their entire history, including anyone they have ever met, onto the stage with them. And there lies the dilemma. There should be no inherent danger involved in seeking the truth and/or judgement of reality. But people DO get hurt.
Even the most careful of Real Housewives, like Phaedra Parks for instance, can control her own image by what she chooses to present, yet past associates are free to claim a piece of Phaedra's reality.
Angela Stanton did just that to Phaedra in her book, "Lies of a Real Housewife: tell the Truth and Shame the Devil"

Stanton struck a blow at Park's carefully crafted "reality", and that kind of response has to be expected as long as Bravo withholds a disclaimer or statement that speaks to the truth of what is presented. MTV didn't even use words when they broke the fourth wall to let viewers know the truth about The Hills. The final scene answered all of the questions that viewers had waited years to learn. (yes, it was scripted)
"The curtain closed, or rather, the veil was lifted on MTV's "The Hills" last night in the final moments of its series finale. As Kristin Cavallari pulled away, off to Europe to "find" herself, pal and former flame Brody Jenner stood on an empty LA street to watch her go. It was a bittersweet, emotional moment. But then the backdrop rolled away, the cameras panned out, and we saw that Jenner was now standing on a Hollywood lot, surrounded by crews, and that Cavallari's car was parked just a few feet away. She got out, they hugged, and that was that".-NY Daily News 2010

Bravo has left viewers and cast-members in a limbo of sorts with The Real Housewives. Years of un-written, and un-said rules, leave it up to all of US to decide what to do with all of it. Maybe 2013 will be the year that Bravo brings some clarity to the situation. Or maybe we will all just have to wait 'till the franchise ends. Maybe it will all be seen as an experiment with reality itself, with all of the players contributing to the outcome. Like a story that is still being written, we just may not know for sure until the end.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Really LONG Story-End of Year personal blog, and...

If you are reading this, you are probably one of my Twitter-followers, so I'm addressing this blog, mainly to them, (you?). In any event, thank-you for reading this!
Apologies for being a bad-blogger! 
Sometime right after the blogger known-as Lynn Hudson died, Google put me on notice that they were pulling ads from this blog due to "adult content". Huh? They have the right, and the ultimate duty to protect their company, and their advertisers. I wanted to get into a war with them about, "adult content", but since they refused to tell me exactly what they meant by that, I was left to guess. If "it" was something that alerted their porn-filter/adult-content, the only "sex" that I posted here were some comments about a "same-sex"-wedding.  So, for those of you who support Gay marriage, I was willing to take one for the team there, but I never really found-out what the problem was.

There were also circumstances at that time that caused me to question whether this blog had been maliciously "reported". Carly Hall posted that Lynn had had some problems of that nature, and another "Housewives" blogger had posted a statement about "being reported" to Google. So, I was unhappy with Google, and possibly some random trouble-maker, or possibly someone who considered this blog as "competition", to their interests, so.....that's my excuse for not-blogging here.

Speaking-of Lynn, I have thought of her often since her surprising sudden death this past August.  I wasn't a big fan of Lynn's blog, but I had been there since the beginning. I respected her for her writing, and the enormous amount of work that she put into her blog. It appeared to me that Lynn had distrust and suspicions when it came to other bloggers such as myself, so most other bloggers were ultimately considered persona-non-Grata, or worse over at IHJZ, but I am fortunate in that my very last communication with Lynn, had been on friendly terms.

 So when she suddenly died on her 49th birthday, I was shocked like everyone else. I did some more research into the person who we all knew as "Lynn N Chicago", and I learned that her financial situation was beyond bad. I learned that in the week that she passed-away, her home was foreclosed. As a reader of her blog, I never would have guessed that her situation was so desperate. She did not share that with her readers, but if she would have informed her readers, her "LynFam", I have no doubt that they would have offered and tried to help her.

Which brings me to my personal situation. As some of you know, I found myself smack-dab in the eye of the super-storm that hit the East Coast this year. Being in the eye of a hurricane is all that you would think it is-its beautiful, and peaceful. Especially when you're experiencing it in a safe, DRY, place. Its the after-math that sucks.

What came-through my house is pretty-much what I would expect a tsunami to be like, without the white-caps. WATER and lots of it, and FAST. The water was gone almost just as quickly. (most of it-the rest of it lives-on as mold-spores).

I had a life or death experience when I had to make some quick decisions, knowing that it had come to a point that if I made the wrong choices, that it could cost me my life. Fortunately, I did not drown or get electrocuted when I swam my way to higher ground.

Why didn't I evacuate in time? I simply did not believe that the water would go much higher than I'd ever seen it in the 25 years that I've lived here. I knew that it was bad when I called my city's public works department and the man on the other end told me that the water had breached a high-tide line that had not been passed in the 37 years that he had been there. The storm was still hundreds of miles offshore at that time, but flooding had started on our barrier-island. There was one more low-tide cycle coming, but the water never went down like we had expected. I waited for my chance to leave during the low-tide, but the water just kept rising.

I was alone with my cat at that point. Most of my family had scattered and I had stayed behind to see which way the storm was going to go. Usually, a predicted storm would not make a direct hit and for this one we had to wait and see if it was going to make a left-turn. I heard the news that the storm had made the turn towards the East Coast at about four am. I decided to get myself to the mainland and I called my husband. He told me to wait for him. It looked like we had plenty of time-it wasn't even raining and the street was dry. My husband was taking-care of a dialysis patient and it was a matter of waiting for the patient's intravenous medicine to finish. By the time the he tried to reach me, he was turned-back under orders of FEMA.

This is where FEMA comes into my story. I could say that the actions of FEMA caused me to have to make life or death decisions , and that I resent FEMA for that. But I won't. What I resent FEMA for, is the hours and hours spent on hold with them on the telephone. And the efforts made producing, and finding the infinite documentation that they require. (hours that could have been better-spent cleaning-up this great big MESS!)

Why did I even bother with FEMA? Because I thought that FEMA would be my best choice in getting assistance. Because FEMA relentlessly advertised and solicited. Because I was unquestionably affected by the storm and I was willing to trust them with my personal information. OH-and because I had called The American Red Cross while my city was under martial-law, and after their voice-mail jail had asked me to "press 2 to donate blood", and "press 3 to make a ten dollar donation", I was disconnected. I gave The American Red Cross another chance to help me, when I had access to a phone that didn't run on battery-power and they told me that they only do referrals. I asked The American Red Cross for help two times and they had nothing available for someone who's home was destroyed. Not even a clean blanket!

When the water started coming into my house, I moved the cat's food, and litter-box to the second floor. I had intended to bring Bootsie with me, but since it now looked like I would be swimming away from the house if I decided to leave, I wasn't sure if I could hold on to her, or keep her in her cardboard travel-carrier. Before my mother had evacuated, she had reminded me that her friends, who lived a block "upstream" from my house, had boasted that they had never flooded.

The electrical power was still working in my house when I left, but it was the electricity that caused me to abandon ship. I opened the door to what used to be my laundry-room, and the floor was floating. There were at least three feet of water, and the heating system was sparking, floating, sizzling, and just looking surreally DANGEROUS. There was an electrical outlet in the floor of the TV-room, and I saw flames and sparks shooting out of it, and I heard zapping, sizzling sounds.

I grabbed what was left of a regular Italian sub, and some bottled-water and some home-made brownies out of the fridge, a flashlight, a radio, some dry clothes, and my purse, and I wrapped them up in garbage bags.
I put those things into a large plastic container that we use for our recycling and I tied a rope to it, and I stepped into the water.

The water was up to my chest and it was cold but tolerable so I slowly waded and swam myself up the street, dragging the floating-bucket to the neighbor's house where I rode-out the rest of the storm. The next day I went back and fed the cat. I think that it took about three or four days for the electricity to come back on on our street, and my town was under martial-law for about a week. Nobody was allowed to enter most-of the island, and anyone who left was not allowed to come back until the ban was lifted.

Almost everything on the first floor of my house is now gone, including the floor and the walls. (it has been gutted). I'm still here, with the cat, at what FEMA calls the "disaster dwelling". I have heat, hot-water,  electricity,television, internet, and a roof over my head. Its toxic here, but I have some reasons for being here. (see cat. plus family has relocated nearby. plus someone has to hold the fort down-don't they?)

I no longer have a refrigerator, a washer, or dryer. I have a hot-plate and a coffee-maker. Its the LAUNDRY situation that's getting to me. Cleaning-up after a flood is dirty, did I mention TOXIC-work. Just today I ruined another pair of boots. Not being able to wash and dry my blanket, towels, clothes...without having to improvise using the bathtub, is really getting on my nerves.

I've been keeping in my mind that there are people who were killed by the storm, and some who are worse-off than I am.  I consider myself lucky to still have possession of documents that are slimy with black-mold. And of course I am grateful for my own life, and everyone in my family, and everyone in my town-I am thankful and grateful that there were no casualties here. My elderly dad suffered a stroke the week after the storm, but he is recovering. So, we're ALL OK here. I really don't have anything to complain about.

But I have been complaining. I have been tweeting my frustration and complaints w/FEMA and The American Red Cross on Twitter. Did I really expect my government to be able to offer me any kind of assistance while there was a major event going-on? No. It was pretty much exactly what I suspected. Which was that I would be lucky to stay out of their way and visa-versa.

Did I expect that if I ever happened to be in-the-way of a major disaster, that FEMA would have assistance available after the event? I did expect that. They DID offer to relocate me at first and I did not refuse. The problem is that I didn't exactly want to be relocated. I don't have my own car, so anywhere that I would be relocated-to, I would be stranded as far as getting-around. After a few weeks, I told FEMA that since it didn't look like I would be able to do any laundry or store food, for awhile, that I definitely DO want to be relocated. I told FEMA that in fact, my "disaster dwelling" was becoming more and more toxic-(think asbestos, black mold, fiberglass, giant commercial/industrial fans and dehumidifiers, and God knows what else), and dangerous due to the after-effects of the storm and the construction, demolition going-on in my house, and all-over my neighborhood. Not to mention the hoards of trash-pickers, news-crews, construction-workers and random strangers who descended upon the area.

Here is where I guess I should mention that there was a fire in my home a year ago last July. What that has to do with all of it, is that the re-construction work that was done at that time, caused a lot of my things, including my piano, to be destroyed.
It wasn't the fire that caused my property losses then, it was what happened when the construction and cleaning people came through. Also-I did evacuate during hurricane Irene, and my home was looted!-They took the brand new television. Its not that material things are so important, I know that they are not, but I'm experiencing all of this as someone who has had things destroyed during repair-work, and stolen during an unnecessary evacuation.

AND-I am someone who has already been traumatized by a natural disaster/flood. It was that-"Perfect Storm", and that storm in 1992 was my very first experience being flooded. I dealt-with a life or death situation then, and destruction of some of my things. What shocked me the worst about that event, I've decided, was seeing WATER where I didn't expect it to be. Where water did not belong in my view of reality, and it was there, whether it was "supposed" to be there or not. I believe in the psychological effects of this kind-of trauma, because I have experienced it before, and I know what it feels like. For me it feels like jumping ten-feet in the air-being startled, when someone "sneaks-up" on me. When I start to notice that happening, I know for sure that my mind has not recovered yet.

So, yeah, I'm not completely stupid. If American hero's like a great number of War Veterans, not to mention police, and emergency personnel, can be profoundly affected by trauma, I at least know better than to think that I can just shake-it-off. My doctor agrees, and I'm on my way to using all of the mental health benefits that my insurance allows for this year, and into next. I especially want to pass that information on to anyone else who has been affected by the storm. Yes it will wear-off on its own, (trauma), and usually within a few months at most, but why chance letting it linger when there are professionals who can help you heal from it?

I'm sure that you had some adventures in 2012 too. Maybe those Mayan's were right after-all? It was TEOTWAWKI for many in 2012. (TheEndofTheWorlAsWeKnowIt in case you're not up on your eschatology/Dooms~Day lingo. And if you're not-what are you waiting-for? We don't have much time!)...

But I mentioned Lynn Hudson for a reason: She didn't complain about her problems on her blog, or ask for help. Maybe it was because she knew that her readers and Twitter time-line were the type of people who would offer help in a second and she didn't want to bother them with her problems? 

I saw the response and outreach that happened after Lynn died, and her readers and friends decided that they could help Lynn accomplish something that she didn't get a chance to do, and that was to provide a college-fund for Lynn's youngest child.

The closest I have been to blogging lately, was some time spent over on Famewhorga's comment-section. And, I posted a little-bit about my experience with the flood. The warm replies that I received there meant a lot to me, and emotionally, just knowing that there were other people who cared enough to reply with kind words and prayers, I honestly felt some healing and recovery from all of it.

The day before yesterday I was on another mini-rampage on Twitter. Complaining about FEMA, and how aggravated I am with my doing-laundry-in-the-bathtub situation. Some people replied that I had confirmed their suspicions about FEMA and The American Red Cross, (and that had been what I thought was my point), and some kind people had replied to me asking if there was something they could do to help. I said that I would see how things were going and let everyone know, and I thought about that.

I thought about my situation, and was it really that bad and should I turn-down offers of help? I've learned a lot from Lynn's story. Did she possibly make a fatal mistake in not accepting her readers help and generosity when she had the chance? (OK-I know that sounds dramatic, I told you I'm just a little mental from all of it) Do I have unrealistic mis-placed pride? And then I felt a little guilty for sounding so needy when so many people have it worse than I do. And I thought about FEMA, and the zillions of tax-dollars that are being collected and spent ostensibly meant to help people such as myself, and how wasteful it all seems when all that FEMA seems to be doing is wasting survivors time with bureaucratic paper-chasing chores, when we could be fighting black-mold, (my new hobby!), and cooking delicious meals on our hot-plates. It probably won't stop annoying me when I continue to hear just how much FEMA has spent on this particular disaster, and how much money has been raised from well-meaning people, when I think that much of those funds have been spent on administration and salaries of people who are in no position to do anything but refer people to other organizations who have nothing but the same to offer. (referrals to other organizations that do nothing but refer....)

Just for the record, I also contacted my pharmacy to see about having my prescription paid-for, because there was news circulating that FEMA was offering a month supply of prescribed drugs for people in the disaster area. Some of you know that I started smoking again, and I was hoping that I could take advantage of that offer to refill my prescribed nicotine-substitute, but the pharmacies around here were clueless so I printed-out the info. for them, but I had to give-up on trying to utilize that offer for myself. (more wasted time chasing non-existent, but funded and advertised "help" for disaster-survivors!)

Red Cross. FEMA. Help everywhere. Nope. Maybe if I was naked at a homeless shelter? But it sure doesn't look like a person has to be in that condition to be able to receive what appears to be  the tremendous amount of help that is being advertised. There is some rule that FEMA must receive a certain amount of applications for the help that they advertise before they can receive their funding. FEMA does not have to actually insist that those applicants complete the process/receive help, and in my opinion, FEMA tries to "weed-out/wear-out" the applicants by generally being ridiculous and making it nearly impossible to receive the assistance that they advertise to disaster-survivors. Then they can use the allotted funds to pay the salaries of the incompetent people that they hire. I wish that I had been more cynical before I ever contacted FEMA. When it comes to advertising, and getting those applications, they do a great job at it. When it comes-to their employees following-through with what they promise and what they are legally mandated to do, FEMA is a failure. Many of those employees spend their time wasting the time of the people who's disaster-experience has made their job necessary.

*I did receive a bag of groceries, (peanut-butter, cereal, spaghetti, and some canned tomatoes)- with no strings attached from the local Jewish Family Service agency. They have a food bank and they opened it up to everyone who was trapped on the island while we were under martial law. Since there were no stores open during that time, that was a life-saver for myself and others who's kitchens had been under-water.

I wanted to press the local chapter of The American Red Cross for one of their blankets. They told me that are offering NOTHING except "referrals". I don't need a referral-I need a clean blanket! I gave all of my extra quits and blankets to other survivors. The Red Cross has received a tremendous amount of donations for people in my situation. I feel used by them.

To the people on Twitter who offered to send help-thank-you! I don't want to embarrass you by calling you out, you know who you are. I really was tempted to say, here's my Amazon account, and here's a link to some clean socks and underwear in my size. The very idea of receiving clean laundry from you guys made my day. I cannot accept your offer right now because I don't think that I need it. But I want you all to know that your consideration of my struggles actually DID help me out. How hard is it to hand-wash a few pairs of socks and underwear?!!!! (not very hard really). After I post this blog, and a link to it on Twitter, I'm going to go do that. And while I'm doing that, I will keep your kindness and good wishes in mind, and I will send some good-wishes your way too. Yes, I spent a few aggravating minutes dealing-with disaster-related homework/paper-work today, but most of the day, I spent happily outside washing and scrubbing-away MUCK, and assorted flotsam left-over from the flood. I know that it was the boost from people's good intentions towards my troubles, that helped me get-in-gear there.

I have had moments of misery, and fear, and grief over the loss of my home, and my neighbors but I know that it will get better. It already has. I kicked that mucks butt! Aside from my own problems, I am very sad about the state of the world, especially the USA, in general. So many traumatized, screwed-up, doped-up, incompetent and stupid people and apparently it has come to the fact that as a country, we cannot even manage to keep our kindergarten citizens safe. It won't be too many years 'till I'm elderly, and I may have rely on others to protect my health and safety. I know that "we" ARE the government. Well-we're NOT doing a very good job as a government. But as individuals, we are stronger than we may even know. You guys individually helped me just by being there for me when I needed it, and literally helped me to help myself. THANK-YOU!

So-Here's-to wishing ALL of us, and our loved-ones, peace, and joy, and LOVE, for the holiday season, and a HAPPY 2013!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Promises of Drama to Come-Watch What Happens

I don't know about anyone else, but what I enjoyed the most about last night's episode, was that Melissa and Kathy were not featured in it very much.
Of course there was that scene with Joe Gorga selling his parents out, (and yeah, Teresa lets him have it for that in her blog), but other than that most of the episode revolved around the intense conversation between Jaqueline and Teresa.
Speaking-of the Bravo blogs, both Teresa's and Jaq.'s make us want to "watch what happens", because they both promise drama in up-coming episodes.
"I snap a little bit in next week’s episode. I felt rejected by Teresa. I felt like she was being so fake. I'm not proud of my behavior, but you will witness the "angry and hurt" me. I would like to call next episode my a--hole episode. We ALL have one. Enjoy!"-Jacqueline's Bravo Blog
From Teresa we get:
"You’ll see in the next episode that Melissa makes a surprising confession, and my brother and I come to an unexpected agreement. Giant shocker and small miracles, all in one."-Teresa's Bravo Blog
And Caroline blogs about Lauren's lap-band surgery that took place after Season 3 was finished, last September. But she mentions a "melt-down" that occurs during a camping trip. Will we get to see that?
"We spent the summer trying to boost her spirits and get her on the right track, but nothing seemed to work. She hated everyone, everything, and most heartbreaking of all, herself. She was in the hospital twice for panic attacks, and twice for extreme blood pressure levels. Lauren had a complete meltdown while we were camping in California that scared the hell out of us. Al and I decided that we needed to take drastic measures and we suggested to Lauren that she get lap band surgery."-Caroline's blog
Teresa's eleven-page blog clears-up a lot, and lets people in on some inside secrets like the fact that the same day that Jaq. and Ashlee's dad did the scene for Bravo where they Skype about how "awful" Ashlee is, what a loser etc., and they decide that Ashlee does not have a home to go to, well, Teresa clarifys by informing us that that was the very day that Ashlee's dad was arrested for his little arson charge.(Ouch!).
I know that I promised a "Part 2", or a separate blog to examine the phenomenon that Teresa has become, and just why she is so well-liked, (and it is coming), and Teresa, in my opinion is risking alienating some of her fan base by trying to help the Bravo viewers understand what really goes-on. In my opinion, the more that Teresa detaches from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the better for her. Her blog was long, but it really is a masterpiece worth reading. She even talks-about wanting to write a book about her bankruptcy when she is legally allowed to do so.
Jaq.s blog on the other hand, is a confusing mess, and all over the place. I didn't care-for her little theory about Teresa wanting to "profit from people's pity"when she said it in the episode, so seeing it again in her blog didn't make me like that idea any better. Why does she care about that anyways? Jaquileine is so pretty and she can be so silly when she lets herself, but she has chosen to be Caroline's bitch. I guess it makes sense, because if Jaq. ever faced facts about how negatively Caroline has affected Jaq.'s life, it could be too much for her in my opinion. And mostly I'm talking about how Caroline set Ashlee up to be the black sheep, because no one was supposed to outshine princess Lauren.
Caroline also asks in her blog that people stop hating so much on Twitter and social media. Sorry Caroline-but she can stay-off the www all she wants. The haters are going to keep on hating.That's what the internet is for isn't it? She puts herself and her family on television, and we get to talk about them online.If she doesn't like that, well she knows what to do.
There has been some chatter about Watch What Happens Live, with Teresa and Joe Giudice last night, and the after-show that is posted online. I thought that the most interesting thing was when Teresa confessed that she would, "Leave the country"-(quote Teresa), rather than go to jail, which is exactly what I always suspected that Teresa and Joe have as "Plan B'.