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Enough is Really Enough, Folks

Today I’m feeling real anger about the most recent school shooting in Parkland, FL, and about our inability as a culture to act like adults for a change and enact sensible gun control legislation.

Looking at the faces of those teenagers who lived through the event, who stepped over the bodies of people they knew as they were rushed out with their hands above their heads like criminals by police who looked like Robocops into a swirl of smoke and fear just broke something inside of me.  I sat and sobbed as I listened to them tell their stories.  I couldn’t take my eyes off their faces.  And I cannot imagine the pain the families of the deceased are enduring even as I write this.  I can’t imagine my daughter dying that way, at the hands of another broken nut case who can’t cope and wants to destroy life as violently as he can.

I wonder where all the normal gun owners are now and why they are not organizing to stop the sale of assault weapons.  Don’t they understand that their own reputation gets worse with each senseless shooting?

70% of Americans do not own guns, nor feel the need, and are getting really really fed up with this blind all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

My father owned guns and taught us how to shoot when I was growing up.  My former husband owned guns and was raised as a hunter by his father.  My compadre brother-in-law owns guns as a hunter.  These are all good people who are responsible with their weaponry, so I’m assuming that most people who own guns are similar.

I just wish they would organize and break the grip of the NRA, which is a corrupt organization of zealots who stand by and rationalize the deaths of innocent teenagers who happened to be in the wrong place (school) at the wrong time (during the school day).

I accept the fact that the price of freedom may be random violence because in a nation of rebels, some will always take it to the extreme.

But this steady cadence of gun violence unleashed on the most vulnerable is not normal.  It is obscene and we should no longer tolerate it.

Don’t believe me?  Just look carefully at the faces of those kids who literally recorded the sounds and the chaos of a shooting event so that they could share it with the rest of us so that we’d do something about it.

Look at their eyes.  See what this did to them.  And now imagine that they were your children. How would you feel that you could not protect them?

And as for me, in my anger and frustration I write and plan the acts of kindness I’ll do today to anchor more peace into my country that so badly needs it.

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Trump Fans

Sorry, Trump true-believers, but it must be said.  There is a serious cognitive dissonance problem with your attraction to Trump.

Aren’t you, the people who support this mentally ill man, the same ones who would rage at a school’s administration if your own kid was getting bullied?  Don’t you see that Trump is the living personification of the school yard bully, the one who rules the other kids by fear?

I call Mr. Trump “WhinyBaby” because he has the emotional  set point of a 3 yr old, the proverbial toddler with a shotgun.

“Waaa, waaa.  That man said bad things about me.  Waaa waaa.  He’s a big poopy head.  Poopy head, poopy head, you’re a big poopy head.”   Sigh…

Over and over we see this played out on the big public stage, so predictable.  One minute you’re ‘a great guy’.  The next minute you’re “little” or “lyin’” or “crooked” or “corrupt” or “Pocahontas” because of something you said or wrote.  Poopy head, poopy head,  anyone who says anything in the slightest way critical of Mr Trump becomes a poopy head.  And you guys love it.

As adults you act so victimized, and though you’ve been beaten up by life just like the rest of us, you’ve chosen to blame others/immigrants/politicians/the system for your life condition.

How else to explain such an emotional allegiance to a man who literally does not make sense when he speaks, who frequently says opposite things in the same sentence, who takes pleasure in scaring and mistreating other people he doesn’t even know when he feels threatened.

Hey, Trump fan.  If a rich kid at your kid’s school acted like this and constantly picked on your kid, ridiculing them and turning others against them, how would you like it?

What would you think of a child like that?  Would you really think he was ‘strong’? How would you want the adults in charge to act?

Forget all the “make America great again” rhetoric and step back to look at the man.

This is the guy who bullied you when you were a child.  This is the guy who would bully you again in a heartbeat if you got in his way.

This is the man who ties up the courts with groundless law suits against people who hurt his feelings because he needs the Big Bad Mommy/Daddy Judge to beat them up for him if he can’t bully them into submission. He’s filed a whopping 3500 lawsuits in his career…I mean, who does that?  Would you trust a neighbor who sues at the drop of a hat?

This is the man who has filed bankruptcy four times.  Who has been married three times and whose cheating on his spouses (those same kids’ mothers, by the way) was publicly self-promoted on Howard Stern’s show. Who had a habit of cold calling journalists pretending to be someone else (that’s known as lying) to brag about how “amazing” that Donald Trump is.  Who lies, cheats, insults, and takes full advantage of any situation to make money, including the housing bust and the financial tsunami of 2008 that lost you real money and maybe even a job.

This is the man whose pretty daughter took to twitter to sell copies of her dress right after she walked off stage when she introduced him at the Republican Convention (#self-serving), because, you know, everything is for sale in a Great America.

Clearly Trump’s Great America is a Tacky America.

Doesn’t that bother you?  Could you imagine George Washington’s, Abraham Lincoln’s, Teddy Roosevelt’s, even Ronald Reagan’s kids doing anything like that?

Forget how pretty Trump’s kids all look (isn’t it coincidental that his daughters are what he would call ’10’s?  Hmmm.) and how nice they seem.  They are all tethered to his business somehow, scared to step out and make a living on their own without their father’s enormous wealth to back them, as his own father’s enormous wealth backed him.

Hey, Trump fan.  If the guy I just described was not Donald Trump, but some nobody, what would you honestly think of him?  How in the world can you trust this trainwreck of a man?

So you have to ask yourself.  Are you still that scared kid getting bullied by that brat who keeps getting away with it because the adults in charge are ignoring YOU?

Are you a victim of this political version of ‘domestic violence’, too frightened, too powerless to leave him?

If you really want to make America great again, be a patriot and see who Trump actually is, not who you want him to be.  This fragile Republic that countless thousands of citizens have died for depends on you getting honest with yourself now.

And then vote your conscience, not your fear.

Why I Resist The Coalition Ambition

Getting young ones launched in life is a noble mission and my life’s work and I’m happy to report that I’ve been more successful than ever as I hone my skills and take on even greater challenges.  The trick is keeping up with the accelerating chaos created by well-intentioned college admissions folk who are utterly clueless about their applicants’ reality, and either don’t know that or are not willing to go there.

Is that ignorance or arrogance?  Hmmm…probably a shade of each.

The recent Coalition commotion has caused a minor stir in the everyday world but a major one in the world of guidance counselors.  No one describes this better than my esteemed colleague, Will Dix, who has kept up a steady stream of superb pieces aimed at reaching the hearts and minds of our former colleagues in college admissions.  Will understands the needs of both cohorts well and is doing his best to stop the generational meltdown that will surely come as a result of the silly Coalition expectations.  GCs everywhere are near apoplectic over these expectations since they can easily anticipate the unintended consequences that will ensue.  Yet, oddly, they have never been included in the Coalition’s planning, which is where the ignorance and arrogance come in.

Admissions officers and guidance counselors have long seen themselves as partners in the launching of young adults, but this decision to change the college admissions process without consulting their GC partners and then dissing their protests over same has revealed just how broken the process is.

Anyone who every worked as a college admissions officer will feel their Bravo Sierra barometer engage as they read the Coalition’s plans since this proposal doesn’t pass the smell test, meaning that even the most experienced among us can’t imagine how creating an online ‘locker’ for 9th graders to post their work for review by college admissions officers years later could possibly lead to more underprivileged Black and Hispanic kids being admitted to top tier schools, which is supposedly the point of the whole exercise.  It doesn’t take an MIT PhD to see that this scenario will just spawn a new cottage industry of consultants eager to help advantaged 9th graders produce admissions worthy documents from the get go, thereby throwing the advantage to the wealthy once again while increasing the stress levels of young teenagers who are already medicated in unprecedented numbers to get through their days, courtesy of our helpful medical community in bed with the pharmaceutical industry.  No matter that data shows these meds are counter-indicated for teenagers.  No matter they actually trigger suicidal behaviors in growing brains.

Who cares?  At least those advantaged teenagers will have a better shot at getting into an Ivy school.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

Let’s face it. Underprivileged minority students are not in the Ivy + schools’ applicant pools, but not because they just need to plan earlier by putting 9th grade assignments in a Time Capsule Locker.  They aren’t there for a million different reasons and here’s where the cognitive dissonance comes in.  These schools know that, but at the same time they are looking for that one diamond-in-the-rough kid who pulled himself up by his boot straps and earned all As and at least a 2100 on the SATs.  In the real world, this is an urban legend, but that myth has kept those admissions officers hooked in its illusion.

For the past 30 years these schools could have taken minority students with mixed grades and/or low scores and leveled the playing field but they haven’t.  Know why?   Do you think for one minute that Harvard will let its SAT mean score drop and lose the coveted top place in the USNWR ranking system, just to bring social justice in the admissions process that is stacked against certain populations of kids?  Nah.  It won’t happen, folks.  We’re talking Big Business, Big Egos here, not education.

Look at what these schools DO, not at what they SAY.

Bottom line: the Coalition’s big ambition will only widen the access gap by creating a system that the wealthy know how to play very well and, count on it, they will win the day, leaving another generation of disadvantaged kids locked out of the American dream.  And over time, the difference between the haves and the have nots will wreck all that’s good about America.

So here’s a big shout out to Will Dix, a champion for children and a true hero to the rest of us in this fight to rescue education from the corrupt clutches of Big Business.  You aren’t alone, Will.

There are many of us out here calling Bravo Sierra on this idea because nothing short of the future of our Republic is at stake.

Yeah, it’s that important.

Toddlers With Hormones

I actually saw a commercial on TV in the wee hours one morning a month ago that made me stop in my tracks and watch, it was so compelling.  It featured a young toddler (you know, the ones who struggle for balance and walk like Godzilla), teetering from side to side in slightly slow motion as he walks down his home’s long corridor toward the glass paneled door.  The ad is for Air B&B and though many thought it creepy, I love it.

That little human, so proud to be up on two legs, struggling to hold his balance as he moves towards the object of his desire (what’s out there in the big world?) reminds me of teenagers getting ready to apply to college.

They say that human development is one big spiral, repeating over and over as we age. Teenagers go through toddlerhood (you’re not the boss of me!) but in a more sophisticated way. They share the same biological imperative to move on up, albeit with much more fear than they had when they were two and learning to literally keep up with the others around them.

When they were two and fell one hundred times learning to stand upright, modern teenagers were greeted by smiles and loving encouragement from the adults around them.  No adult would think of criticizing a little cruiser trying to walk.

But God help them if the same Big Toddlers fall when they are in high school.  All hell rains down on them.  They are most often medicated to adjust their attitude.

I’ve had several students call me in a panic over the past month.  They were over-committed in their senior year and their grades went down this spring after their college acceptance because “I was hurrying to get all I could from my high school experience”, meaning “I was struggling to meet everyone’s expectations of me.”  The colleges they committed to on May 1 were suddenly not as committed to them.

It used to be that seniors’ grades slipped due to ‘senioritis‘, as they blew off school to do nothing.

Now their grades drop as they try to finish the many commitments they developed in order to please the adults in their world and get admitted to college.

Sorry, college admissions colleagues, but you guys are culpable here.  You can’t expect teenagers to be perfect over-achievers in order to give you bragging rights when you admit them and then cut them off when they struggle to keep up at the end.  Kids live in the real world where things are complicated and genuinely unforgiving.

Admissions officers live in a vicarious one, making decisions on applications – not real humans – and think they understand KidWorld because they read so many essays.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Kids will always tell admissions officers what they think they want to hear.  They inflate their applications and have many other adults write their essays.  I’ve experienced applicants one way as an admissions officer and a completely different way as an educational consultant in the trenches with them.  All admissions officers should spend a year or two as an independent consultant before becoming Gatekeepers again so they can get rooted in the reality of applicants’ lives.

The focus on pleasing the Gatekeepers (admissions officers) supercedes everything because in this era, it’s about spin.

Kids just want to keep moving and are doing what adults tell them is necessary to get in.  Admissions officers want to admit “the best” to leverage their position on USNWR and to brag to their board of trustees, alumni and specific audiences.  Gone are the days of the real and true ‘match’.  It looks to me that all of the nations’ best universities, maybe even including my own beloved MIT, have been usurped by a business model and so are driving down the wrong road, however well-intentioned.

If all of us adults involved in college admissions would see applicants as Big Toddlers (or better yet, Toddlers with Hormones), we would be more likely to do things right and train the next generation of human beings to revel in their authenticity.

And their authenticity is why they have come.

There Is Only One Way To Describe This Person

Donald Trump.  Moron.

It’s clear that this man has a personality disorder (i.e., psychopath).  He says profoundly stupid, insensitive and hurtful things about everyone but himself.  He wants all eyes on him all the time.  He seems to have no shame about his disreputable behavior (he’s been unfaithful to his wives/partners and has gone bankrupt = no integrity) and he keeps getting more outrageous.

I have no idea why people would even entertain the notion of voting for him for president, this blowhard joke of a man.

Pity him because in the end, he can’t take it with him and he’s missed the point about life and love and leaving the world a better place than it was when he joined it.  But don’t even think about voting for him.

The thing about people with personality disorders is that they might seem like they’re normal, and many are uber charismatic and seem bigger than life, but they’re not.  They are mentally ill and they won’t get better.  If you get close to them, they will burn you.

Let’s pass.

A Perfect NYC Day

It’s one of those picture-perfect summer days in NYC with crystal blue skies, puffy cumulus clouds and a soft cool breeze.  Everyone is out on this Saturday, memories of the winter long gone in this city focused on the Now.

I went out early to get a jump on the day, eating breakfast at my favorite corner restaurant in my W 71st St. neighborhood.  Sitting by the window, I watched dads and their little boys dressed in identical  green “West Side Little League” T-shirts heading out for the big game.  And watched so many dogs of all sizes and shapes, generally well-behaved.  Caesar Milano should do a show on the dogs of NYC.  I’ve never seen so many well-mannered dogs anywhere.

Fairway Market is the iconic NYC supermarket, located on 72nd and Broadway.  When I first moved into this neighborhood, I was intimidated by Fairway, because it has to be the most crowded store in the entire city no matter what time of day.  The first time I went shopping there I nearly had a panic attack with all the people jammed together for their shopping experience, but little by little I got used to it.  The food is waaay better than at Whole Foods and the people who work there couldn’t be nicer and more helpful.

Today I witnessed a great NYC moment at Fairway.

Five NYC firefighters came in ready to shop, probably for their kitchen, complete with heavy belts and harnesses with gadgets/tools hung low on their hips, high boots, T-shirts and that confident swagger that firefighters have.

They are as close to royalty in NYC as anyone can get.

One young one yells across the aisle to another who is right in front of me madly searching the shelf. “Hey, Vinnie, you got the soup?  “Nah, I see every type but that one.  No wait, there’s one left but I can’t reach it.”  For the next five minutes, five young fire fighters assemble to figure out how to reach the soup can that’s located about 8 ft up on a shelf.  They take turns lifting each other but no one can reach it.  They huddle.  People weave around them.  They strategize.  They try repeatedly.  No go.  They tease each other as some run off to gather more ingredients for dinner.

Vinnie keeps trying.  Finally, one of the store employees walking by, without being asked,  gracefully and silently grabs the side of the shelf, climbs up a bit, whisks the can off from its high perch and drops it into Vinnie’s hand.  Just like that. The Fairways employee smiles and walks away.  The firefighters send up a loud laughing whoop at Vinnie’s expense and they all yell thanks to the worker who has all but disappeared.  People waiting on the check out line are aware but keep a respectful detachment.  I see some smiles among them.  I keep it discreet as well, because that’s NY.  Love this city.

Freedom Is The New Black

It’s July 4th weekend and so of course I’m thinking about the concept of freedom.  I even went back and re-read the Declaration of Independence with the reverence others might hold for the Bible.  And it strikes me that we need a major refresher on that seminal document.

Can we offer Declaration Of Independence study groups the way others run Bible studies?

Our society is quite sick, actually, with our nation running off the rails, engaged in endless wars that make no sense.  I truly believe that sociopaths are running America, for how else to explain how we could be in this mess?  We stand by helplessly and watch banks that are too big to fail almost bring the world down with no punishment.  No banker went to jail.  We watch Monsanto, a company that used to be a weapon manufacturer and now ‘weaponizes food’, and many other multi-national corporations destroy our food and water supply.  We cannot stop the geoengineering that has changed weather patterns, sending the most important agricultural states (CA, TX) into severe drought and driving up the price of food.  We look up and see unmarked airplanes pump out huge plumes of chemicals into the atmosphere in criss-cross patterns, turning the blue sky to milky white.

We don’t know who is doing this or for what reason, but according to emergency room data, many of us get sick right after the spraying occurs.

We adults are raising kids to focus on the short-term material wins, keeping them so busy doing things strategically designed to secure a win.  In fact, I find that this wonderful generation of beautiful kids is living in stun-mode, with no free time to speak of and an inability to take time for contemplation thanks to 24/7 technology.

Millennials are energetic, fun, book smart and, ultimately, asleep.

So it’s time to offer those DOI study groups to remind us that America is not just here to consume products and to support those multi-national businesses who poison us and do their best to keep us all asleep.

America is a bold idea.  Its brand is ‘personal freedom’.

Read these words carefully: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Our Republic is being usurped by business interests, including all that college admissions silliness where the truth must not be told.

Forget the Common Core, folks.  That’s just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It would make way more sense to hold DOI study groups to wake up and energize an entire generation so we can get this train back on the tracks.

Flag Of Treason

After yet another mass shooting by a young male on psycho-pharmaceutical drugs, this one in a beloved sanctuary, the oldest of its kind in the US, a church that has survived slavery, Jim Crow and hands-up-don’t-shoot, it is really time to ask the politically incorrect question why my fellow citizens from the South continue to fly the confederate flag.

The confederate flag was, and still is, a flag of treason.

Many of my fellow citizens get all warm and teary-eyed over treason???  Really?  That’s sobering.

The stars and bars represents division, hatred, us-against-them, and the senseless death of scores of thousands of Americans who slugged it out in horrific fashion over four years more than 150 years ago in a war concluded in the blink of an eye at Appomattox court house in VA.  Note that at the South’s surrender, General Ulysses S. Grant treated his counterpart, General Robert E. Lee, with dignity and respect, allowing him to keep his gun, his horse and his head.  In many other nations, and perhaps even if this outcome had been reversed, the losers would have been executed, Nuremberg style.   As it was, Grant ordered his army to salute Lee as he rode away.  He did this in a noble attempt to heal the gaping hole torn in America’s heart by that unspeakable war.

In an editorial earlier this week, David Brooks points out that Robert E. Lee, that sacred son of the South, was a traitor to his nation.  Yes, he was kindly and smart and, most importantly to Southerners, well-mannered, but he was also the valedictorian of his West Point class who swore an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution of the US.

Spoiler alert – he didn’t.

In fact, while 40% of his Virginian classmates honored their oaths and fought for the Union, kindly old Robert E. Lee decided to war on them instead.

My great-great grandfather was one of those murdered during the Civil War (and no, it is not called the War of Northern Aggression, as the Southerners like to refer to it).  A teenage soldier who had emigrated from Germany, William Schulz enlisted in an all-German speaking US army regiment out of Albany NY, was taken prisoner at the siege of Petersburg and died of starvation 18 months later at the infamous Andersonville POW camp in Georgia.  He was just 19 when he died.  He never saw his only child.

For the Southern states to weave the symbol of treason into their state flags and license plates is nothing more than petty-ass, passive-aggressive silliness.

The South lost the war.  They rejoined the Union.  Time for them to cowboy up and get with the program.

Brooks is so right in his piece.  He says that the signals that society sends to its children through its preference for certain symbols are subliminal and therefore very powerful.

Allegiance to that flag symbolizes an acceptance of racism and apartheid.  Simple as that.

It’s so heartbreaking that the cold-blooded murder of those welcoming and loving parishioners who had come together to pray should be the tipping point on this terrible subject.  The screwed up punk loner who murdered them was encouraged by his culture’s tacit belief in white supremacy, a concept that is on the wrong side of history.

In honor of William Schulz and all nine murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, SC,  I call on our Southern brethren to finally own this one.

Dump the flag of treason once and for all and leave it in a museum where it belongs.

Well, It’s About Time

After many seasons of disappointment and downright despair felt by many of her people, America has finally done something right.  Something stereotypically American.  Yesterday, in a firm and unequivocal statement, the US Supreme Court ordered all 50 states to issue marriage licenses to both straight and gay couples alike,  upholding Thomas Jefferson’s iconic branding of the new nation in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Gay people are equal to straight people?  The very thought is hilarious in its stupidity because anyone who has been alive for more than 20 years will tell you that there is no one-size-fits-all sexuality, as if ‘gay’ or straight’ are hard-edged, well-defined categories of human beings.  We have learned in this modern era that we are each all of that and more.  How else to explain girl crushes and bromances.  And the entire range of sexual expression on view across all 7+billion people worldwide.

Gay and straight equal?  Duh.

Finally, America is free to be progressive again, a beacon of hope for the rest of humanity.

Finally, we got it right again.

Make no mistake, folks.  This was a landmark case, maybe the biggest legal case of our lifetimes.  America will never be the same and thank God for that.

Now maybe we can take the Republic back from the multi-national corporations and the cabal that seem to be in charge, the ones who have been poisoning our food and water on purpose through GMOs and geoengineering.  Have you noticed the chemtrails yet that are disseminating  aluminum, cesium, barium, nano-bacteria and other toxics substances into our air for reasons unknown to anyone but Raytheon, DARPA and the CIA.?   Start looking up and paying attention.  We’re under siege, friends, and it’s hidden in plain sight.

But that’s a topic for another day.  Today is for all of those fellow citizens who are busy this morning planning weddings they have yearned for their whole lives.  Today is about LOVE.

God bless us, everyone.

Want To Know How To Make Your Brain Happy?

Thanks to modern brain studies and to findings from the new field of resilience and well being, we can now know what makes a happy brain.  And a happy brain makes a happy life.

I don’t know about you, but I’m on it.

Gratitude and compassion.  Who knew they are such powerful antidotes to the toxicity of daily thought?

When you back way up and take the 50,000 ft view of our current life, you can see that we’re swimming in a toxic soup of fear and shame and guilt and vengeance and anger and helplessness and I could surely go on for three more lines.  We’re poisoned by the foods we eat (pesticides in our GMO wheat???), the water we drink (more than 100,000 man made chemicals that never existed before 1960 are in the water now), the air we breathe (have you noticed those chemtrails in the sky yet?).  And even way worse, we’re being constantly irradiated with microwave radiation from our ubiquitous wifi sources.

When you think “smart technologies”, think “x-rays”.   Yeah, it’s that bad.

OMG.  It’s no wonder most of us are sick, which, of course, makes the pharmaceutical industry highly profitable.  Hmmm…..

Dr. Amit Sood, a practicing MD from the Global Center for Resiliency and Well Being at Mayo Clinic has a simple remedy to fight back.  Watch his video and I hope you’ll be inspired to try it.

We are all connected somehow in a large field of some kind and the more who make this change, the easier it will be for the rest of us.

The more who change, the faster we’ll tip this world of suffering and pain upside down.  And then maybe we actually will have heaven on earth.