What would John Lennon say? (You know the answer)

HATE

The following is a completely NON debatable fact. There are no political sides you can take. There is no religious ground to stand on. The world is in utter turmoil and people are dying for a couple of basic tenets of civilization. (Perhaps the word ‘civilization’ is the important part of that sentence.) There is an inordinate amount of HATE and INTOLERANCE. That’s it. I know I have said this more times than I even remember, but put a bunch of toddlers in a room from every corner of the earth and guess what? They will happily play together, form bonds, giggle and share their toys. Hate and intolerance is taught. Nowadays, it is ACTUALLY taught, but it has been seeping into the minds of people more covertly over millennia by passing down one’s personal and inexcusable hate filled philosophies.

Currently, there are three hate-filled aggressions taking place in the world and on the news right NOW: in Northern Iraq/Iraq, Ukraine/Russia and Israel/Gaza. And I ask myself, why? Iraqi’s have made no effort to hide their intolerance: “Leave, Convert or Die”. That seems pretty straight forward and horrifying. Ukrainian’s trying only to live their lives are being ‘bullied’ in the most violent sense of the word, by a most formidable bully, in Russia. Gaza being governed by another ‘bully’, Hamas, has forced Israel to defend itself with deadly repercussions.

If you find yourself judging the above statements, then that is part of the problem. Why do we hate? In the most simplistic sense of a t-shirt derived concept, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?” The truth is, I have my intolerances. I hate STUPID people. People who are too lazy to think. People aren’t inherently stupid. Stupid, for these purposes, is a word I use to describe ignorance and idiocy. We don’t start out that way. It is learned, it is taught, and it is THE problem.

Now that I have narrowed down the OBVIOUS core of the world’s problems, how does it get rectified? Well, the answer must be above my pay grade, because all I can think of is a line from the movie WarGames. When considering the go to answer to all conflicts is usually destroy thy enemy at any cost, I remember Joshua—the computer—in WarGames saying, “The only winning move is not to play.” These conflicts have been there, on the surface or below, throughout time. Allowing people to live their individual lives without interference and without trying to change their beliefs is, in my opinion, the only way the world’s people can coexist. And I cannot wrap my brain around the type of hatred that is any more than, “maybe we shouldn’t be friends anymore.” My oversimplification is deliberate, because I think it SHOULD be that easy.

I would not call myself a peace-monger. In fact, I very much believe in a strong armed forces. I also believe that there are TOO many situations that call for armed intervention, and there are, sadly, times in which collateral damage is perhaps—unavoidable. You can argue that point if you choose, but it will not change the point I am trying to convey. And culturally speaking, it is not possible for me to clearly understand the thought process of someone in Iraq or Ukraine or Palestine or Israel. I am an American. And just as all Americans can hardly agree on anything, I have to believe that the same exists in countries throughout the globe.

So, live and let live is the simple answer, with no simple or even complex strategy to achieve it. In the course of The United States of America, it is a very short time frame in the bowels of our history where we have become tolerant and accepting of things that WE once thought ‘wrong’. We are still—quite slowly—growing in becoming tolerant of our own differences. But within our countries boundaries we abhor violence when it comes to ‘hate crimes’. Everything going on in the news today is a ginormous HATE CRIME.

I wish the world could learn from my analogy of the children having no preconceived hatred. They are a beautiful clean slate. Without being fed hate and intolerance, they would go along blissfully. Oh sure, perhaps there would be the tantrum, or crying if someone took a toy and didn’t give it back, and perhaps one of those kids would take a swing at another or—God forbid- bite them, but those are usually resolved quickly. I don’t believe that Johnny taking Billy’s dump truck would go on to be a decades or centuries hate filled WAR.

Living while allowing others to live is the only answer. Play nice. It’s over simplified and sadly—probably never to take place in my lifetime. But I am tired of the media making it any more than it is and placing blame. At the heart of these conflicts is people NOT wanting other people to even EXIST. Sorry, that’s just stupid. And I think I already said how I feel about stupid people.

Xoxo DDJ

Geezerpalooza

geezerpalooza for blog

Our lives are made up of an endless array of solitary moments. And if we try, we can remember snippets of time from the deepest recesses of our memory. But just ‘trying’ doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes memories need a little jarring. Sometimes those memories are not necessarily vivid clips from our lives, but more akin to a warm feeling—a sensation like arms wrapped around you in a bear hug. How we pull those memories to the surface to bask in their warmth and joy is easier than you think. Take yourself back in time with a party of the kids from your illustrious childhood!

I graduated high school in 1982. We had a pretty large class—in the 500 student range. I went to my 30th reunion 2 years ago and—thanks to Facebook—once again was able to share my life and stories with people from my childhood.  Some of those wonderful people shared stories with me dating back to Kindergarten.  As incredible as that was, it was a reunion, which meant it was sort of staged and stuffy, with me having to wear uncomfortable shoes.

Flash-forward two years. It’s 2014, and the majority of my graduating class is turning 50.  A brilliant idea that we could arrange a mass celebration was conceived.  I admit I hesitated for a micro-second. Then as if speaking to my quirky, silly side—Marla came up with the name ‘Geezerpalooza’. I was SOLD. At that moment I had no idea what to expect, who I would see again or how it would leave such an indelible mark on me, but I knew I was going. Months in the process, two very, VERY hardworking, local graduates took the reins. It would be a picnic event at a local beach from our childhood. The massive undertaking was handled—from the point of view of the unwitting party-goer—effortlessly and seamlessly. There was a great deal of interest in this milestone event—turning 50—being shared with people that not only shared the birthday, but shared so many memories. People were coming in from out of town or out of state either FOR the event or finding time to get to it while seeing family. This was BIG.

Geezerpalooza weekend:

The big event would be Saturday, but those needing passes to the beach and those who had come in from out of town, would meet up at a local bar Friday night. THIS is where I began to feel a new level of excitement. So many faces, still familiar. So many stories to share. There is a common bond from a childhood like ours.  A time where there were no cell phones to call you home—maybe you had that ‘be home when the street lamp goes on’ curfew, or maybe it was a call from the stoop.  We played outside with friends we made—no play dates arranged by our parents. We were part of a socioeconomic group—middle class—that is all but extinct today. The amount of time we spent together without the myriad of distractions that come with today’s world is what I believe forged indelible memories, and lifelong friendships.  I felt it as soon as I walked into the bar. There was one common denominator, “You from North?” “Yes”, was all it took. Everything after that might as well have been talking about a movie we all had seen. I had a smile that literally hurt from being permeated on my face. We were even lucky enough to have our high school band teacher join us! There was a surreal feeling about seeing all these people who had spent the last 32 years building personal worlds, with families and careers and still feel like we were kids again—back in Commack, back in the hallways and classrooms and the courtyard, and the band room, or in any of the elementary schools, or the two junior highs. At the end of the day, the reality was we graduated Commack North together.

The morning of Geezerpalooza was awash in a steady rain. Some of us were completely indifferent to it. I know I didn’t care. It’s water… No one cares what we look like, it’s not about that. So, a few of us went—in the rain– to set up for the day. About an hour after that it started to clear. More and more people would arrive and as they approached we would stand and guess who it was. There were various circles of people chatting amongst themselves—not unlike high school—but it was ALL good. Everyone was smiling, laughing, eating, and telling stories while music from our youth blared. And by blared, I mean at one point, a female officer approaches our party inquiring who the permit holder is. She was STERN! Something about loud music… asking for Wendi! (Our hostess!) There was a moment of WTF?! Then there was the moment of HOLY CRAP! It was a fellow graduate with probably the greatest stunt I have ever been witness to. Had this day been scripted, it would have taken one heck of a writer to get it this perfect. I—personally—cannot begin to explain what this day meant. A seemingly simple get-together of friends from 30 or 40 years ago made me feel nostalgic and overwhelmed with fond memories.

The party lasted till 8 PM and some of us even went out after that.  It was crazy. And as if this wasn’t enough, a few of us had brunch on Sunday as well.

I sat around that brunch table trying to wrap my brain around why this was so significant to me. Why did I feel as if falling into a new friendship with an old friend was so easy? It dawned on me—it was the innocence of the time, and the innocence of us as kids in a middle class neighborhood in the suburbs of New York.  There is a bond that we all seemed to share that was not just the classes we took together or the places we hung out. It was a shared culture, a shared neighborhood, and a shared place in time. We were really blessed to be from Commack, and I don’t think I ever gave it much thought. But, at 50 years old, and after a weekend with my fellow ’82 Rams, I have a clarity about what we all shared.

Of all the people that attended and a couple who were SORELY MISSED—I have to hope that one or more of us will make the effort to make this an event that can take place, not as a milestone celebration, but simply as a celebration of our friendships.

As far as I am concerned, this was the FIRST ANNUAL Geezerpalooza. I hope others walked away from the weekend with a similar sense of kinship. We shall always have our youth if we have people in our lives who share our stories.

Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb

xoxo DDJ        Debbie Dworken-Jaffie

A dollar and a dream

kickstarter blog-page-001

Remember when you fell prey to the slogan, “All you need is a dollar and a dream”? When buying Lottery tickets was the only way those dreams had a chance of being realized? Well lucky for us we live in a world where if you have a dream, all you really need is your friends, family and some strangers to fund it for you.  ♥

The advent of such utter brilliance as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Get Funded Now, Crowdfunder and so many more has awoken those dreams to make them a reality. And it doesn’t really matter what that dream is. There are niche focused crowd funders like Quirky if you are an inventor or Appbackr if you have the next great app design. If you have an idea, almost any idea, and you think you can get people on board to support you, there is a better than Lottery chance of that happening.

I have been somewhat transfixed on the myriad of wonderful ideas out there. And I wish I were wealthy enough to fund more of them. So until I actually DO win the lottery, I have to be discerning with my pittance and place my money where my heart says to.

That being said, in the last couple of months I have stumbled upon 2 such Crowdfunding endeavors. Both films and both having literally nothing else in common. Now were you to go to a site such as Kickstarter and go to “Discover Projects”, you could lose a good week in sorting through them all. And that is just on ONE site. Even if you were to narrow it down to Film and Video, you would—at last look—have 35,922 projects to choose from—just on Kickstarter. Scouring through them, albeit fun and interesting, is–time wise–on the lengthy side. In the case of both of my recent pledges, my other addiction—twitter—came into play. A film titled Night of the Living Deb, for somewhat obvious reasons if you know me, struck a chord immediately. I mean… I NEEDED TO BE IN ON THIS, almost before I watched the Kickstarter video–WHICH IS GREAT.  I suppose I have a soft spot for the RomComZom—Romantic Comedy Zombie flicks. (Who doesn’t?) I became twibsessed (twitter obsessed), following hashtag after hashtag, finding the names of the principals involved. I followed Kyle Rankin—the director-immediately.

NOTLDeb
http://www.nightofthelivingdeb.com

  VIEW KICKSTARTER VIDEO HERE

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1364524925/night-of-the-living-deb-a-feature-film)

After watching, it just made my commitment to this project a virtual imperative. So much of the brilliance of a successful campaign lays in the details and the video was just the beginning. I started googling away to all those involved. Smart, talented, visionary types that made my pledge a joy far more gratifying than just handing over my $12 to $16 in a theater. I was now a part of something pretty special from the ground UP.

The use of social media is paramount in a successful campaign. If done properly, as I think getting MY attention attests to, it truly speaks volumes to what the present and future artists and dreamers can accomplish. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Vevo and even UStream can be what makes a dream a reality. Every social media available needs to be harnessed and then just let the viral world take over.

My other film pledge was to a documentary directed by Mark Marshall. Yes, this is a different direction for me, but showing my immense diversity. Again, I stumbled upon it by a tweet. It was @SeanAstin who made me take note of a historical event swept under the rug since The Civil War. THE greatest maritime disaster  in our history for lives lost.  I will admit that my knowledge of American History may not get me a spot on Jeopardy, but I thought I had a pretty good grasp of it. SO, when even those who are much smarter than me do not have bells going off at the name The Sultana, then something is clearly amiss. Again, I watched the kickstarter video and again I was moved to make a pledge. As a society we must embrace our history—good or bad—and honor those whose lives were lost. Sean Astin went that extra mile for this project.

sultana
http://www.rememberthesultana.com

VIEW KICKSTARTER VIDEO HERE

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1060443722/sultana)

He took to Vox Populi Radio and Ustream for a staggering 17 hour ON AIR readathon from the banks of the Mississippi, of Jerry O. Potter’s book, The Sultana Tragedy. His passion for getting this documentary made was inspiring. I watched late into the night as he got a little punchy but still reading surprisingly well!

However it is done, and by whomever, the crowdfunding concept is clearly a monumental shift in how idea’s become reality—how concepts become concrete—and how anyone can change the world. Even if I never have a single project worthy idea, it is comforting to know I can support someone who does.

I am very much looking forward to both of these amazing Kickstarters and I am sincerely proud to be a part of them. For those of you who have never taken a peek at the bazillions of ideas in need of funding, I will warn you now: There are a LOT of smart, talented and creative people out there, and you are going to wish you could fund more of them. I know I do.

xoxo DDJ

 

 

My Single Life

Carrie Quote-SIngle

I recently was out with friends and met a guy. As the evening progressed, we chatted, and had a few cocktails and—though it has been a while—I had the impression he was hitting on me. I thought I explained I am not looking to get involved with anyone, and more importantly, nor was I looking to go home with anyone… now, or anytime in the foreseeable future. Then he hit me with a line that is stuck in my head like a bad song. “But I’m not ‘that guy’.”  This got my mind spinning. First of all, who is ‘that guy’? To me, he is the guy who hits on the last remaining not hideous woman. He is the guy who ‘just wants to talk’. He is the guy who just likes spending time with you because ‘you’re not like other women’. Wow… The more he kept saying he was not ‘THAT GUY’, the more I realized he was most certainly the epitome of ‘that guy’. So I tried to explain that I was not ‘that girl’ either. I did not have an agenda, in pursuit of a very specific financial demographic, I don’t particularly care what you drive or what you do for a living, (as long as you DO make a living), nor was I the type that hooked up or waited for guys to buy me drinks, etc. I don’t think he was listening.

I live in a dating failure geographical area–also known as New York. And the question I bring up when with friends, is which came first? In a time and place where I find men to be overly self-aware of their cars, homes, job and miscellaneous and generally irrelevant things, I am always countered. It seems the men I know feel the fault lies with the women in this which came first question. The impression men have of women, is that we have an agenda, we are judging the men based on the aforementioned nonsense. So I wonder, which really came first? Was it ‘That Guy’ or ‘That Girl’?

While the chicken or the egg scenario gets debated, I can tell you this much. I am sincerely NOT that girl and trying to get that fact across is impossible when dealing with the epitome of ‘that guy’.

I would scream it from the rooftops if I thought anyone would listen. But when you are one on one with a person and outright telling them who you are, what you are not, and you are not getting through?—it all seems quite pointless.

Don’t be That Guy (or That Girl). You know, the ones who get the bad rap. Instead, be courteous, respectful and considerate and don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  CRAZY, I know. But it’s a start and works for us all. Because this is THE Guy and though quite likely hard to find, ultimately worth the time.

XOXO

DDJ – dispatches from the Single Life

A Dictator On A Unicorn Rides Into A Video Game…

Glorious Leader 1 Glorious Leader 2

So in the land of the increasingly absurd, a gaming company in Atlanta—Moneyhorse Games—has created a game called Glorious Leader. Now I admittedly am not even a sometime gamer. I don’t game. But even with the likes of such incomprehensibly violent games already in existence, this one strikes a different chord.

Based on Kim Jong Un–North Korea’s Darling Dictator–you are the “Glorious Leader” and you ride unicorns, battle the United States, set fire to the US Flag—and all I can say is WTF?—play basketball with Dennis Rodman. The CEO of Moneyhorse Games, Jeff Miller, claims the game is an attempt to “carefully walk the line of satire without being an apologist for the regime.” REALLY?

As the world becomes a more dangerous place, and less than diplomatic leaders become less than stable, is this really a good time to make light of the subject? We have the OH SO AMERICAN, Grand Theft Auto, which I am sure is a perfectly fine game for perfectly fine adults, but I think the unicorn and fun times playing basketball with a DICTATOR might just pique the interest of… actually, I don’t care whose interest it piques. It’s silliness, and worse than that it’s irresponsible.

I am not incapable of seeing the satire in a 90’s retro game, but maybe I just read more news than other people and don’t find it terribly funny. I sincerely miss the days of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Asteroids which were probably 8 bit games, and this is a fabulous 16 bit 90’s style, which in theory is kind of fun to me. But other than that making me feel old, perhaps it makes me less in touch with the current slew of games of 64 bits and 3D and so much more that is completely foreign to me. [And excuse me if I got those ‘bit’ facts wrong.]

I suppose time and scientific studies will tell if any of these video games have left a mark on a generation or two. Eventually we shall see if people are desensitized to violence or world calamity because of the video games they play. And some of that might depend on whether Kim Jong Un wins this video game or the real game in the REAL world.

But this is just my humble and non gamer opinion. Feel free to check it out for yourself. BUT, after you giggle at it take a moment to think. Yes, it’s just a game… but is it?

                                                Does anyone remember Joshua?  😉war games

xoxo

DDJ

 

http://www.moneyhorsegames.com/

 

 

When will NEWS = TRUTH? Another stab at it.

card for BLOG news

It would appear that former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg—now that he already changed the NYC mayoral game by extending term limits on his own job—wants to stay in politics. He is launching a new Website as well as a Television show on his own network—also available via streaming. His TV show, planned to air daily, will be hosted by veteran journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. If those names sound familiar, it would be because they are presidential election staples. Halperin from Time Magazine, and Heilemann from New York Magazine and MSNBC. But their books, Game Change—which became an Emmy nominated HBO movie—of the 2008 election, and Double Down about the 2012 election, are the standouts in their US politics/policy world.

I love the idea that Bloomberg has about this emerging multi-platform jump into US politics and policy—even if it is looking a little self-serving. [Is there a hint of 2016 on his mind?] I worry, however, more about the content. I just don’t see the diversity of open, honest, bipartisan journalism from the as-so-far announced names involved.

Justin B. Smith—Chief Executive of Bloomberg Media Group put this project together being able to—undoubtedly—careen across the already established platforms of television, radio, print, digital, and video that Bloomberg already established. Clearly a leg up on any other upstart.

I will watch with my somewhat curious if not apprehensive eye, to see how this evolves. But my gut feeling is yet another journalistic endeavor based on opinion rather than fact, or equally as disgusting, facts skewed to fit a demographic. In this case a more liberal minded, Bloomberg infused ideal. You have to remember, Michael Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat until he switched teams in order to run for mayor in 2001. He left the Republican party in 2007. (Again, making me wonder why party affiliations should matter.)

Former Mayor Bloomberg certainly left a lengthy legacy on the city of New York, with a pretty impressive list of bans. All, of course, in the interest of his constituents. And don’t get me wrong, there were many that truly are in the best interest of people. Notable to me were the banning of smoking in bars and restaurants, and banning of trans-fats in restaurants. Then there are the more absurd things that he tried like the ban on soda’s larger than 16oz or the ban on loud headphones. At some point we really shouldn’t have all decisions made for us. We as a people, need to make educated and practical decisions and in the case of the loud headphones, people need to have respect for those around them. I fear this new endeavor will be a constant barrage of what I am supposed to think, rather than a medium for current political news based on facts from the point of view of someone entrenched in the political arena while it is taking place—if that is even possible in Washington.

I am a huge fan of Vice News and their endeavors. Fact based, first person perspective is the kind of journalism I want to see, read and hear. Internationally, they go places we don’t want to be and report things most don’t want to know, but NEED TO. If you haven’t already, follow @vicenews on Twitter. (And then follow all their reporters). Their reports and documentaries are more to my liking and I just don’t see this new Bloomberg multi platform version of Political News and Policy living up to my perhaps “implausible standards”.

I suppose I am tired of “infotainment”. And I don’t think it should be skewed, sugar-coated, or the absolute worst—FABRICATED. So I will wait and see, while I continue to get my political news via a hunt to ‘find the truth’ instead of a ‘here are the facts’ scenario. Stay Tuned,

 

xoxo

DDJ