Remembering Whitney Houston a year later

One of my favorite songs in the whole world.

I thought it good to revisit this song a year after Whitney Houston’s tragic death.


Why do privileged kids use drugs? Case in point: Stephanie Bonjiovi ( Jon Bon Jovi’s daughter)

Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


drugs (Photo credit: the|G|™)

What is wrong with people? Why would an obviously rich beautiful girl with everything she ever wanted be using or experimenting with heroin. I’m talking about Stephanie Bonjiovi,  daughter of rock star,  Jon Bon Jovi.

Why do these kids keep using drugs?

There is so much warning against all this, yet, they still do it. If you have half a brain, you know that this leads to destruction, pain, and a general stupor. Hey, all you have to do is watch TV. Intervention, Dr. Drew, etc. You have to believe our society really is sick. Was there a time when people didn’t do this? Was there a time when they didn’t want to escape?  ( I can almost understand people leading miserable lives escaping, but privileged people?)

I worked in a drug and alcohol facility in a minor job for a while. I spoke to addicts. They referred to all their ingesting of drugs as “partying.”  I couldn’t believe the number of them who would smile remembering how fabulous shooting themselves up felt. Most of them refused to believe it was a problem.

Maybe they should switch the name from partying to  “killing yourself.” It doesn’t sound as great to say, “I was out killing myself the other night with my friends. We wanted to see which one of us could die first? It was so much fun!” Do these people sound like complete fools to you?

Many of the people I met were ordinary people , and from all walks of life, but once they got into that world they couldn’t get out. You knew that coming to the drug facility wasn’t going to work for many of them. You knew they were going to come back. It’s a hard thing to stop. Isn’t that common knowledge? 

None of the people I spoke with were particularly happy, especially the ones going to jail. Especially the ones who humiliated themselves to get drugs. I heard some horrible stories. People who were given drugs at 4 or 5. People who were expected to get their parents drugs. Poverty, sickness, stealing, and everything in between.

I just don’t get it. Why can’t we get these kids to stop trying to get a thrill out of anesthetizing themselves?

How many warnings do people need?

Why do you think drugs are persisting despite all the warning against them? I’d appreciate your comments. I really want to know.


“Esther and Me” at the CJFilm Festival Inspired Me

I’ve been attending the Columbus Jewish Film Festival for the past few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed all the films. I think independent movies are the best movies being made today.

Today I saw a short little film that really spoke to me. It is called  “Esther and Me.” It was directed by Lisa Geduldig. She made a little film about a very charismatic woman that she met in a Jewish nursing home in New York.

Geduldig meets Esther, a resident of the nursing home, when she runs an activity at the nursing home. . She strikes up a friendship with Esther, who is in her late 80’s.  She used to be a gorgeous fashion model, and then had a career as a stand-up comic. The pictures of her in her youth are particularly striking. Even in her old age,  Esther still looks pretty good.

Her marriage, if she had one, is entirely left out of the film. There is a mention of her daughter, but we don’t meet her. We do know that she has grandchildren because they make an appearance.

Why I liked this film

Although Esther has been sick, and has a shaky hand, she is still vital. She cares enough about herself to still put on makeup everyday. She still makes jokes, and is the life of the party. She enjoys going to the theater and staying up until 11:00 talking to Geduldig.

It reminds us that just because you’re getting old, you’re still a human being who wants and needs recognition, and has something to contribute. Esther seems like she’d be fun to be around. She still has style, and likes to go out. She hasn’t given up on life, and is a fighter, not a complainer!

The most exciting part of the film was when Geduldig gives Esther a chance to do her stand-up act in front of a crowd, and she gets a standing ovation.

Esther gives me some hope

The one message I got out of the movie is you’re not out of the picture until you take yourself out. Although I’m not close to being 89, I am getting close to 65.  It is a little daunting. I always do have the security of knowing I’m not alone. (The Baby-Boomers are quite a presence.)

It also served as a reminder to really talk to the people you admire while they’re still on this earth. Better yet, use your expensive gadgets to document them

Are there older people in your life who inspire you?

Lisa G & Shelley Berman

Lisa G & Shelley Berman (Photo credit: lisagsf)

God, If You’re Not up There, I’m F*cked : A Review: A story about Darrell Hammond



Comedian Darrell Hammond on stage.

Comedian Darrell Hammond on stage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday Night Live (season 9)

Saturday Night Live (season 9) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked, opens up in a rehab facility in New York. The author, Darrell Hammond accurately describes how awful he feels. It’s a place where celebrities go to detox. It’s not the place you’d expect to find Hammond, a well-known comedian.

Hammond, is know for his masterful impersonations. If you’re a die-hard fan of Saturday Night Live, you’ve probably seen his lip-biting Bill Clinton, scowling Dick Cheney, hyper Chris Mathews and scores of other brilliant impressions.

While reading this book, you learn that being a drug addict and alcoholic is the least of Hammond’s problems. He’s been trying to figure out what’s wrong with him since he’s been 4 or 5 years old. After he hears his own child crying,  he starts having flashbacks to his frightening childhood.   It’s then that we learn about his abusive mother.

Inadvertently, she helped Hammond develop his talent. One of the things Mom liked to do was impressions of people in the neighborhood. Hammond joined right in with Mom to distract her.

Where was Hammond’s father?  Dad had his own quirks —including war post traumatic stress syndrome. Hammond and his dad share a love of baseball which brings them together.

Hammond manages to get away from his dysfunctional family and carve out a comic career for himself.

If you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live, you’ll enjoy this insider’s look at the show.

Hammond’s recovery is a work in progress, but by the end you’re cheering for him. This is a fast read, and inspirational. If you’re a little squeamish, it might not be for you.


10 Signs you’re a “Mature” Adult : A polite way of saying you’re old!

A Collection of Beatles Oldies

A Collection of Beatles Oldies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. People with young kids look like teenagers to you.

2. People start addressing you as ma’am or sir.

3. You don’t know who is singing popular songs on the radio.

4. You don’t know that oldies are oldies and not the latest songs.

5. Your son turns to you and says, “You’re old.”

6. You’re daughter informs you that it’s time to get your hearing checked.

7. You have to dye your hair every 4 weeks instead of every 6.

8. You go to a museum, and notice you have to sit down by the time you walk from the car to the door of the museum. After finishing the first floor, you have to sit down again.

9. You don’t mind traveling in a car instead of taking an airplane because you’re no longer in a big hurry.

10.  You go to a plastic surgeon about your sinking eyelids, and she says, “I’m surprised you waited so long.”

When did you realize your were getting older?

Marc Levison ALS Race Sunday, Sept 2, 2012 at Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio

Marc & Eileen Levison

English: Lou Gehrig Monument in Yankee Stadium

Lou Gehrig had ALS  like Marc Levison

My friend Marc Levison died October 8, 2009. I can’t believe it’s been so long. He fought a long hard battle against a terrible disease, ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He would want you to know that he didn’t die of ALS, he died of cancer.

Here is an excerpt from a story  I wrote about him several weeks before his death.

Marc was one of the most inspirational person I’ve ever met. When the little things in life get me down, I think about him, and the battle he courageously fought. In the end he couldn’t move, talk so you could understand him, but he wanted to be around people and they wanted to be around him. He wrote, via email to hundreds, maybe thousands of people

His family established a race, in his honor, that takes place every labor day. I wrote this profile about him several weeks before his death. I was documenting his life, and the race that was so important to him. The race, the Marc Levison Race still takes place every labor day.

Marc Levison―Local Hero

Marc Levison was excited. He maneuvered his wheelchair up and down the sidewalk in front of Jeffrey mansion, a park in Bexley, Ohio.

He surveyed the early morning crowd. He was gratified that so many people were registering for his 5K race on Labor day weekend.

The Marc Levison 7th annual ALS race would be underway soon. Levison couldn’t walk or run in the race, but others would honor him by taking his place and donating to his cause―finding a cure for ALS.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig was a New York Yankee baseball player in the 1930’s who contracted and died from this disease. It attacks brain cells in the spinal cord and brain.

Eventually, the muscles of the body weaken and waste away. People usually live 3 to 5 years after being diagnosed.

ALS began attacking Levison’s muscles 21 years ago.

People who knew Levison when he was younger, remember a tall lanky guy with a great sense of humor and a gift of gab. Muscles are necessary for speech; fortunately, Levison found another way to communicate.

Luckily, the personal computer became popular and more accessible when he was losing some of his physical abilities. He’s used it to reach hundreds of people. His goal was to influence people to value the important things in life: love, charity and friendship. Sitting in a wheelchair gave him a unique perspective.

You can’t mention Levison without thinking about Eileen, his devoted wife of 42 years. She stood by him and did what she could to make his life easier. They met when they were in high school.

Levison joined the navy and went to fight the war in Vietnam. When he came home on leave, they got married. After a few years they had a home in Bexley, and two sons, Brent and Kevin. Both Levisons worked for Plaza properties; he was an electrician and she managed apartments.

Life took an unexpected turn when Levison started having difficulty walking. The family was devastated when they heard the diagnosis: ALS.

Levison lived for 21 years with a disease that was supposed to his him in 3 to 5 . From the beginning Levison was determined to approach things in a positive way.

Judaism is the foundation of Levison’s life, and his faith sustained him. He was continually inspiring others by his good deeds and attitude. In typical Levison style, he visited people at Heritage House and  Sunrise Senior Living―faciilities for older people in Columbus, Ohio. His goal was to cheer them up, and he did.

Levison was proud of all the money he raised to fight ALS. The money wet to the Neuromuscular Research Center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Quitting was not in Levison’s vocabulary. He fought the cancer with chemotherapy

The evening before the race, Levison was at Starbucks in Bexley, Ohio. He was listening to Soul Kitch’n, the band that was kicking off the start of the race. He was greeting everyone who came to the crowded outdoor patio. Nothing could keep him away, not even the first chemotherapy treatment he received the previous day.

Update: the money raised at the race bought a very important microscope for research. Although Marc is gone, you can still help fight the fight. Money raised at the race is going for research.

The 10th Marc Levison race is on Sunday, September 2,  at Jeffrey Mansion. Pre-registration is at 7:30. The race is at 8:30.  

You can get information at