Saying What We Mean

2016-05-08 20.39.56I saw this picture on Lena Dunham’s Instagram recently. Her comment: “Thank you to the woman who taught me how to say both Thank You and Fuck You.” I copied it. Thought about it. A lot.

Here is the thing: I have spent much of my life saying both. At the same time. To the same person. When I should have just said “Fuck You.” Let’s take a look and see who’s with me.

“I’m really sorry, but you were rude and it hurt my feelings.” Right. They were rude and hurt my feelings, but being the nurturing soul that I am, I feel the need to begin my chastisement with an apology. Come on; you know you do it.

“I hope you don’t mind if I tell you I don’t agree.” God, save us from ourselves. Why should I care if they mind? Only the female gender begins sentences like this. It’s the same as when women in meetings preface ideas or comments with, “I’m sure this is silly,” or “I’m sure you’ve already covered this, but” … when someone does that with me in business. I stop them and say, “Please start your comment again without the self-deprecating, self-demeaning intro that has already made what you are about to say next ridiculous.” I say this even to clients, and I usually point out that only women start comments that way.

“I’m really angry with you, but don’t worry; I will fine about it later.” So, they did something ‘not so much’ and while I take the time to actually tell them, I reassure them there is not real permanent damage. The problem with that approach is that it often does to irreparable damage. Trust is often gone and open dialog no more.

So, I love that someone taught Lena Dunham to be both a tough girl and a grateful girl. And I don’t think she meant that she says both phrases in the same breath to the same person, but for me her comment provided an a-ha moment, for which I’m grateful. So many lessons from that fabulous Girls creator. Love the show. Love the difficulty I have watching it. Thank you, Lena Dunham—and without a Fuck You at the end of it.

Shonda Rhimes & My Sister

I have been reading Shonda Rhimes’ new book, Year of Yes. You know Shonda Rhimes, the creator and writer of the great Grey’s Anatomy. Great book. Game changing book. Merely one chapter into it, I realized that my sister Leslie is Shonda’s twin sister.

We moved a lot while I was growing up. Fifteen times by the time I was sixteen, or sixteen times by the time I was fifteen; who can remember? I was

Continue reading…

Reality T.V. Comes to Politics

Everyone’s talking about it. How did Trump defeat a lineup of seasoned politicians and emerge as the frontrunner, the close-to-certain presidential nominee for the Republican Party of the United States of America? Really? Seriously?

Pundits are saying that a disenfranchised group of Americans is receptive to Trump’s message, which seems to be that America isn’t great, but it will become great if we get rid of much of our nation including immigrants and

Continue reading…

The Donald, Facebook, and Producing the News

Santana or the Donald? We the people decide which we will have, not by our vote, but through our Facebook posts.

I have an old friend I haven’t seen in twenty years whom I follow on Facebook. Upper West Side of Manhattan guy who is passionate about right and wrong and politics, and those who have “friended” him on Facebook generally agree with his point of view—or if they do not, they do not challenge

Continue reading…

In the Name of…Taking Responsibility for Our Decisions

Just the other day I was asked to consider joining the board of directors of a non-profit that is doing amazing work keeping women from being trafficked in Third-World countries. Here was my response to their e-mail: “I have promised my team that I will not sit on any new boards. I am spread way too thin, but if it were up to me…”

And, then a few days later someone wanted to get together

Continue reading…

Who are You?

In my day job, I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently about personality styles and response traits. What makes one person respond one way and another a different way? Same circumstances. Different responses.

So, of course, I started to think about me and how I respond to things. A memory comes to me. I’m in the sixth grade and I’m eleven. It’s winter. I finished swim practice (Lake Erie Pepsi Cola Swim Team; freestyle,

Continue reading…

Halloween Decorations


I have to move. I have come to realize over the past few years that you must surround yourself with people who elevate you, who make you feel good about yourself, your accomplishments, and your potential. This doesn’t mean you should never be challenged by friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who may outshine you; but the distance between you cannot be akin to the miles between the sun and the moon.

But I’ll come to the

Continue reading…

Lobsters and Me

As is our phone custom, my beloved Aunt Molly and I were catching up on nothing important, when her doorbell rang and her neighbor dropped off two lobsters, fresh off the boat.

“Two lobsters?” I said. “Are you having someone for dinner?”

“No,” she replied. “I’ll cook them both, eat one of them tonight, and then the other tomorrow.”

“In a sandwich?”

“Yes, that is the best part. Lobster sandwich.”

“Really?” I said. “So you

Continue reading…

My Friend Lorie

May I take a moment to tell you about my friend Lorie? She has known me a very long time. Since college. Neither of us has done anything remarkable really. She stayed in Nebraska after college and I came east, so I guess the most remarkable thing about us is that we have stayed friends all these years—best friends, really—without having much in common in our day-to-day lives, beliefs, or interests. Oh, there were years

Continue reading…

Donald Trump's Fifteen Minutes of Fame

I am so sad about our country and the discourse around the presidential election coming before us in a short year and a few months. These are serious times, and all I see in the media is that which is beneath the discourse I’m hoping to hear.

So, of course, in my typical fashion, I go to the screen.

Here is the fabulous speech for The American President, written by the great Aaron Sorkin, and

Continue reading…