Category Archives: Uncategorized

Joe To Go But No Hike For Mike?

The Penn State Nittany Lions American football...

Joe Paterno, 84 yr. old football coach of 46 seasons (counting this short one), was fired Nov. 9, 2011 by the Penn State Board of Trustees.  He was fired because of a child sex abuse scandal involving long-time coach assistant and one-time heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky.  Sandusky has been charged with molesting eight boys in 15 years.  Some of the alleged abuses were said to have taken place at the Penn State football complex.

Paterno was fired because he did not take more action, when in 2002,  Mike McQueary notified him that he saw Sandusky in the Penn State Showers with a boy (reported to be 10-years old at the time).  While Paterno did report McQueary’s allegations to the athletic director, Tim Curley and a vice president, Gary Schultz, the police authorities were never notified.

In the wake of these scandalous allegations, Paterno is fired, Schultz has stepped down, and Curley has taken a leave of absence.  But there is one player on this “infamous team” that, at the time of this writing, remains seemingly unscathed and is likely to be standing on the sidelines, come game time this Saturday in the game vs. Nebraska.

When Mike McQueary saw Sandusky in the Penn State Football Complex shower with this boy, why didn’t he yell for Sandusky to stop, get that young child out of the shower, and then notify Paterno?   And, why didn’t he go to the boy’s parents … and then notify the police authorities, once he realized that nothing was being done about the incident?

Actually, in my opinion, nothing that McQueary would say in his own defense would excuse the fact that he did not try to save that young child and that many more boys would endure the same treatment at the hands of Sandusky because of his silence.

For me, the better question when it comes to McQueary is …. Why is he still standing on the sidelines of Penn State as an assistant coach?  Isn’t it time that Mike … takes a hike?

Morning Coffee with an extra Dean Martin Please!

Dean Martin at the Highball

Image by cote via Flickr

One of the really great things about being my age (yes … there are benefits!) is being around when singers/entertainers were not just stars, but super stars.  They were on stage and in our living rooms purely because of their talent and their ability to make you fall in love with them.  And, they had something very hard to find these days.  They had class …. true … unadulterated  … class.

Undisputedly, one of the classiest  (my way of spelling this) acts back in the 50’s and 60’s was the Vegas show featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, (aka the Rat Pack).  My favorite was then and now … the incomparable … Dean Martin.

When Dean crooned … women swooned.  He was “heart be still” handsome; his voice had the ability to melt the coldest of hearts, and …. according to a close friend of mine, and a former Golddigger on the Dean Martin Show, he was not only a gentleman, but a gentle man.  He was carefree, funny and sexy.  He was the definition of class.

It’s hard to say which Dean Martin song is my favorite.  Certainly I love “Everybody Loves Somebody” and “Your Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.”  But there are so many wonderful songs and it would be hard to choose just one.

I’ve been watching some of the old video clips of Dean Martin and listening to his music all week because I’ve been on the phone recently with my friend Patricia Booth-Julius (aka Patty).  She was one of the original Golddiggers who danced and sang on his show.  She shared some of her greatest memories and thoughts of Dean with me.  Last night, we shared a call with my co-hosts at On The Grid.  Seriously …. you would have loved to have been in on the tele-chat last night!

And, I’m happy to say that she is going to be our guest caller this coming Saturday morning.  Patty was blessed to sing with Dean, but as far as being on the show itself, she worked hard for a very long time, and that hard work over the years paid off.  She deserved to be there.  She was also the lead singer at the Folies Bergère in Vegas, as well.  Patty is another one that radiates class and draws people to her the instant they meet her.  I am blessed to call her my friend.

I’m really looking forward to this Saturday morning, pouring myself a good strong cup of java, and chatting it up with the ladies.  Till then, I think I’ll just listen to another Dean Martin song and do a little swooning of my own.

Meet Patricia Booth-Julius: Sharing Her Memories of Dean Martin and So Much More!

This blog post gives me much pleasure, for several reasons.  One being that I am blessed to be sharing the spotlight with two other very classy, savvy, and a bit … ummm … unconventional ladies, at On The Grid, a Blog Talk Radio internet talk show.  Secondly, because the first two shows have been celebrated with wonderful reviews and huge support.  Thirdly, because the show coming up this Saturday, 15, 2011 at 10:00 am ET will be with singer/dancer/entertainer Patricia Booth-Julius (aka Patty Julius).  And fourthly, because I am privileged to know Patty personally and I know for a fact that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  (And she is beautiful).  So, without further adieu …. please read below.

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Patricia Booth-Julius had performed over 32 different musical comedies and light operas before she ever left her home in St. Louis, Missouri, to find her career as an entertainer.

This came as no surprise to those close to Patricia. She started voice and dance lessons at the very early age of three, and received her Actors Equity Card when she joined the St. Louis Municipal Opera (“Muny”), while still in high school.

Her talent, drive, and determination at the “Muny” lead her to work with Broadway superstars like Ethel Merman, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Eddie Albert, Florence Henderson, and John Raitt. She has danced with Tommy Tune during an audition, and was not only immediately hired to perform with The Gene Kelly Show in Las Vegas; she performed a solo dance with the legendary Gene Kelly, as well.

Patricia went on to become one of the original “Golddiggers” on the Dean Martin Show. Then, while the show was on hiatus, she performed as the lead singer for the Folies Bergere at the famous Tropicana in Las Vegas. What was to be a summer job … became a two-year success story. She eventually returned to the Dean Martin Show as one of the “New Golddiggers.”

To date, Patricia hasn’t missed a step and is still performing … doing concerts, print work, and commercials.

Join Debbie Barth and Joyce Bagley  On The Grid Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 at 10:00 am ET …. as Patricia talks about what it really takes to be successful as an entertainer, her own experiences … and her memories of Robert Goulet, Frank Sinatra (and more!) and of course, the very beloved, Dean Martin.

Join us in the chat room at www.blogtalkradio.com/onthegrid, or call in at 323-792-3071 to listen by phone or to speak with Patricia Booth-Julius, personally. On The Grid is, after all, where real life happens!

Order In The Court

This is Swampyank's copy of "The Jury&quo...

Image via Wikipedia

Earlier this month, I found myself in the Court House.  No, not for any misdemeanors or felonious criminal offenses, but because I had received my very first jury duty summons.  If you knew my age, the fact that it was the very first summons might surprise you.  In fact, if you knew my age …. that might surprise you as well … but that’s another story.

My first reaction was not one filled with patriotism and eagerness to fulfill my civic duty.  That I will, shamefully, admit.  No, it was more like ….. “holy crap, I so do not have time for this.”  This is not something I am proud of, but I do believe in telling it like it is.

After a few days of thinking about how men and women have fought for our freedom to have the right to a fair trial by one’s own peers, I came around.  Ok, that, and the fact that it would give me something new to blog about.

I found my way downtown and to the “court-appointed” parking garage (free ticket validation, don’t you know.)

I entered the elevator of the parking garage and met my new best friend (at least for the day). She was the “button-presser” and asked me which street I needed. I told her and explained I had been summoned for jury duty.  Suddenly I felt proud and very civic-minded. Her reply was “I’m following you.”

We walked several city blocks (the cost of free parking) and by the time we got there, we were fast friends. (And my hair was totally frizzed …ugh)  We put our purses in the little baskets and walked through the line.  I had one scary moment when the “inspector” took my purse out of the basket to hand to me and said “wow, this is really heavy, what do you have in there?”  I responded, “You would be surprised.” …  and then I had this vision of being knocked to the ground, told to spread eagle, and having my rights read to me.  I mean … everyone is so sensitive these days.

We finally found the floor and the room in which we would spend the next eight hours.  Of course, no one thought we would be there that long; we were told later in the day that the process was taking longer than normal.  Apparently, there were several courts in sessions on this day, and the process of a court session actually going to trial, the random selection of the jury pool, and then the actual selection of the jury for each trial … and alternates … took quite a bit of time.

After it appeared that the last person who had been summoned had strolled in, a very gracious lady … Gwen … called us to attention and went around the room zapping the bar code on each person’s summon.  She gave directions to the bathrooms, another jury room (smaller, with 2 computers and 1 gaming computer, and a T.V. that looked to be about 20 years old (everyone in the picture looked like they had been slimed), and the coffee area.  And I do mean coffee … just coffee, as there was no creamer or sugar.  The vendor had not delivered the creamer or sugar for that week, so far.  Gwen then put on a video explaining the jury selection process, and what was expected of us as jurors.  After that, we were left to our own devices … and required not to leave the floor without permission.  I was extremely impressed with Gwen.  She was very firm, and yet very respectful of each person and was, again, very gracious in her demeanor.

Finally, Gwen called us to attention.  It was time.  Some of us were about to be called outside and told to form a line.  As the names were called, I could see panic in some eyes and in some …. just blank stares.  I don’t know why …. but, I instantly thought of the movie “Schindler’s List.”  While those left behind looked through the glass partition, we could see someone giving them instructions … and then they were herded away.

The concern for those whom had disappeared from the hallway dissipated as Gwen, once again, called for our attention.  We were told we were free to go to lunch.

And, this was truly the highlight of the day.  Courtney and I went to one of my favorite places, downtown.  Nico’s is an Italian Restaurant, serving fresh-baked bread and pastas.  We spent an hour truly getting to know each other, and I hope that it is a friendship that will continue to grow.

By 2:00 pm, we found ourselves back in the “waiting/jury room.”  By 3:00 pm, it was apparent that the “natives” were getting restless.  I noticed that some of the ones who had been pulled out of the jury pool for selection were coming back in the room.  I considered this “proof of life” that there really is life after disappearing from the dreaded hallway.

And then it happened.  Just when I (and everyone else in the room, surely) thought that we would be told we were free to go home … Gwen called us to attention.  It got so quiet you could hear a judge’s gavel 50 miles away.  Gwen announced that yet another set of jurors and alternates were needed.

I imagine we all held our breath with each name being called.  Then I heard my friend Courtney’s name.  Our eyes locked and I could see the terror in her eyes.  She stood up and walked toward the hallway.  She seemed to be moving in slow motion (you know like one of those great playbacks of Plaxico Burress catching Eli Manning’s touchdown pass in the last 35 seconds of the game to win Super Bowl XLII … only not as great.)  I wondered if I would see my new-found friend again.

It was after 4:30 pm when Courtney came back into the room.  Like two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, I greeted her with a heartfelt welcome and a rush of questions.  She had not been picked for jury duty and speculated as to why she hadn’t.  That’s when Gwen, for what would be the last time that day, called us to attention to let us know that we were no longer needed (for a least two years) and we were free to go home.  It is amazing how many people can sandwich themselves in an elevator in anticipation of being set free.

Courtney and I casually walked back to the parking garage discussing the day, and all the things we had learned from the experience.  We speculated on all the reasons one does not get picked by a jury, based on her experience in the courtroom, as well as others we had talked to during the day.  We hugged and said our good-byes with promises of staying in touch.  I truly hope she does.

I learned that when the selected members of the jury pool went into the courtroom.  Each one was called upon and asked (in front of everyone else) a series of questions from each side (prosecution and defense).  And, something as simple as a specific work experience would excuse one from serving.  I learned that we can be called back as often as every two years for jury selection.  I learned that my eight-hour day earned me a $12.00 check.  Had I served on a jury for four days, I would have received $20.00 per day.  If I were to serve longer, starting with day 5, I would received $40.00 per day.

But as far as the dollar amount is concerned.  Serving on a jury really isn’t about me and what I can earn.  It really is about doing my civic duty for a right that has been granted us … and that is a fair trial by one’s own peers.

As far as my “valuable time” is concerned, that isn’t about me either, but the valuable time spent on jury listening and processing information that I would then take into a room and …. with 11 other jurors … make a decision that will forever change the lives of not only the person on trial, but the family and friends of that person.  It very well could be the most valuable time someone has ever spent.

So, even though I was not selected this time (and I will still admit relief,) next time … if there is a next time … I won’t be so anxious about the “unknown,” and focus more on the reason why I am actually there.  I will make a concerted effort not to be self-centered and to be more selfless (this may be easier said than done … but anyway.)

And besides ….  it will give me another piece to write about.  Maybe an “Order In The Court-Part 2.)  But again, seriously …. this isn’t really about me.

Color My Birthday Unforgettable – July 2011

It’s been a week since I have been “officially” on the web; this due to a birthday.  Yes, mine was two days ago, but that’s not really the birthday that I’m raving about today.  No, it’s the birthday of a very special and beloved woman who I lovingly call “momma Juanita.”  Her name is Juanita Ford.  Her birthday was the 18th  of July (mine the 19th).  She decided several months ago to celebrate her 80th in grand style with those very fortunate people with whom she has gracefully (and sometimes in tornadic fashion) impacted with her love and generosity that knows no boundaries.

Her guests began arriving last Tuesday and continued to arrive until the following Monday.  Her home was filled to capacity with people coming in from all over the United States.   The overflow stayed at a nearby hotel.  Paul and I were fortunate to provide a guest room for two visitors who came in for the “big gala event” this last Monday.

Paul and I spent time with the early arrivals before the official “blast off” of events which started last Friday.  We greeted old friends and made new friends …. ate pizza, drank a glass (or two) of wine, and it didn’t take long for us all to understand that we were a part of a very special club.  We were all people who shared a great love for a very special lady.

There was the “official meet & greet event” last Friday at the hotel where many were staying.

There was the ladies “high tea” at the Lexington Tea House (absolutely a “must” for all in a 100 mi. radius, don’t you know!)  We all wore apparel appropriate for a grand tea … including hats of course! After tea, we went our separate ways for a couple of hours …. donned our pajamas … and met again for a “ladies pajama party.”  (What goes on at the pajama party … stays at the pajama party …. wink.)   And no, the men were not left out.  They all went bowling during the day, then out to the wonderful Fire & Sticks Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Restaurant.  Later that evening, there was a friendly (depending on who was losing) game of pool at our house.

And then there was the Sunday afternoon BBQ.  The food was absolutely bountiful and delicious, with three different meats and lots (I do mean lots) of side-dishes.  We were an eclectic group, enjoying all the things that we had (and did not have) in common and learning so many things that we didn’t know about each other.  Some had known each other all their lives, some for 30 or 40 years … and some had meet for the very first time. The common denominator, of course was Juanita. But if you were a stranger passing by, you would have felt for sure that this was a family gathering.  And … you would be right.  Every single person present looks upon Juanita as a wife or a sister-in-law or an aunt, or a sister, or a grandmother, or … a mother.  Being one of the fortunate to call her “mom”, I marveled at all the sisters and brothers I had acquired … all because of Juanita Ford.

And finally, it was the evening …. Monday, July 18, 2011 … of the Grand Gala event.  And what a grand event it was!  The dinner was catered by Above & Beyond Catering Company.  The food was delightfully scrumptious from appetizers to dessert … and beautifully presented.  John Ford (husband) sang songs (which he had written years back) to his beautiful “birthday gal”.  Dance music (and there was a lot of dancing!) was provided by The Friendly Neighborhood D.J.-John Haskins.  We were especially delighted and very much blessed to have the one and only Brad Preddy (grandson to Juanita) entertain us with songs from Broadway theater, classical (you should hear him sing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma!) and Christian genres (his rendition of The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard!).  He brought the house down when he sang a song he dedicated to Juanita. A song he believes “says it best” concerning Juanita and the extraordinary life she has led.  The song … “I Did It My Way.”  Everyone who knows Juanita Ford knows this to be true.  She has (and continues to this day) always done it her way.  And everyone her knows her … loves her.

In fairness to my readers … I need to digress for a moment and tell you a little more about this amazing young man by the name of Brad Preddy.  Simply put, he is talented actor and also has the most amazing voice.  He has produced several CD’s and has a new one coming out soon.  The first song I heard him sing was “Maria” from West Side Story.  I was mesmerized by his voice.  And, after meeting him and spending time with him, I can tell you that he is not only an amazing singer …. he is a genuinely sincere young man with a beautiful soul.  And, I will purchase every CD this man puts out … and you are going to hear me talk about him a lot … a whole lot!

Now, back to my birthday chronicle of events.  As I said earlier, my birthday was the day after Juanita’s.  It was a quiet day for the most part. (Hey …. I was tired!)  I spent the day with my husband and receiving birthday calls, etc.  I also spent the day reflecting upon the last week.  I thought about all the people I had already become close to and how much I truly had come to love them.  I thought about all the new friends I had met.  I mentally went back to the High Tea and all the ladies in their beautiful hats, and the same ladies later … running around in their pajamas, chatting up a storm and laughing.  The laughter …. oh, so much laughter.  I remember a wonderful lady by the name of Jo (a young lady of 91 years old).  What a beautiful and elegant lady (out-dancing me on the dance floor).  I thought about the wonderful couple who honored us with their presence for a night.  They had not seen Juanita for forty years, but immediately decided to fly in for one night to honor this lady.

I then thought about the center of every moment and experience of which I was blessed to be a part.  That center is an incredible lady by the name of Juanita Ford whose accomplishments over the last 80 years are astounding.  Perhaps none so astounding, however, as her ability to touch so many people’s lives, to mend broken wings … helping others not only to fly, but to soar.  She exemplifies the definition of class and grace.

So how was my birthday?  It was memorable and on my “Best Birthdays” list. My birthday this year is unforgettable because a very special lady shared her birthday with me.  She is the wind beneath my wings.    

(Video Highlights of the week to follow shortly …. it’s a real hoot!)

Biological Does Not Make You A Father

15.365 - My dad: one of my biggest fans

Image by Jeff the Trojan via Flickr

Want to wish all the wonderful Dads out there a very Happy Fathers day! I believe a father is not just “biological”. He is not someone who just puts food on the table and gives you shelter. He’s the first person you see at your ball game, play, or high school debate. He is the one who sets up waiting for you the first night you have the car and then smiles when you walk through the door as if he wasn’t worried at all. He is the one who says “no” sometimes above all the protests and threats of “running away from home to join the circus.” He is the one who teaches you to respect women by the way he treats your mother. He is the one who teaches you respect, ethics and tolerance by the way he treats others. He instills high standards and encourages you to stay in school and be the very best you can. He is your father the first half of your life and then, while still your father … your very best friend  …. the last part of his life.

A Stroke of Good Luck For Anthony Weiner?

Old NY Times Building

Image via Wikipedia

The New York Times is reporting that Anthony Weiner has informed friends that he is resigning today. My first thought, upon hearing this, was one of relief. I actually did not know that he had any friends.

Obviously the Democratic Party is relieved and will be happy to put this whole episode to bed. (So to speak, that is …)   But there are those currently in the district he represents (for a few more hours), that are not so happy to see him go. Many felt that he had worked tirelessly to make their district a better place in which to live, and had done a great job. Some felt what he did wasn’t that bad and should not resign. I personally find the latter very disturbing, but maybe my lifestyle is …. how does “The Donald” put it ….”Too vanilla.”

Weiner, by his own admission, believes that political life defines him, and being a politician is all he knows. Many gentle hearts are concerned about what he is going to do with his life after he resigns. I gave this some thought, and I came up with a few ….”transitional professions” in which I think he would feel quite comfortable.

Social Media comes to mind first. He is certainly no shrinking violet when meeting others. In twitter, he customized his own dashboard to make it even more effective in sharing his many talents with others. It doesn’t take Anthony long to twitter before making a “household” name of himself and releasing his sense of humor upon others.

Another thought would be a career in photography. In just a few clicks and shutters, Anthony’s pictures became famous in just moments of being posted in a social media site. I feel that Anthony’s talents could also lead into a whole new era and genre of photography. Perhaps so named ….. “Self-Photography.” Maybe, all the duress and embarrassment felt over the last few days may, after all, just be a stroke of good luck for Weiner, empowering him to do bigger and better things.

I thought of other jobs as well, but perhaps not as prominent in nature as the aforementioned. There is male modeling (that is if you could get him to stay still), and there is always the obvious … his own stand …stationed somewhere in the 9th district selling …. Well …. you know.