Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cain is still Able...

I like Herman Cain and have for many years since I first heard him on Neal Boortz's Atlanta-based talk radio show.  He's intelligent, hardworking, vibrant, likeable, outspoken and he's not afraid to defend his values and principles even when others disagree or put them down. Herman Cain comes from a poor background and his parents worked very hard to give him a good life. He's worked hard and made it on his own. You may not like him because he's a Republican but if that's the only reason you don't like him, then I suppose he's not doing too bad at all.

I don't agree with Cain's stance on everything but I like the fact he sticks to his beliefs. We have far too many politicians whose beliefs and values change with the polls.  I say if you believe in something, truly believe in it then you stick with it no matter what. People may disagree with your stance, but they will respect you for being man (or woman) enough to risk everything to stand by those values. There are those who think that to respect you must agree. Wrong. You can disagree and still respect. Unfortunately in politics we have far too little of that.

Cain is getting a lot of flack from the Democrats and Republicans because he's a black man and he's a Republican. The Dems consider him a traitor, saying the Republicans have him right where they want him, another black man who knows his place. The Republicans don't think he's good enough for whatever reason, my guess is that it's because he is not a GOP insider. 

Speaking of the GOP, you know as well as I do they are backing Romney, we already know that. Romney's got friends in high places, he's got the Republican party in his pocket. I wouldn't be surprised if Romney, who stands a lot to lose here, was behind the Politico story, all or in part. This early in the game, the Dems aren't worried because they'll start playing dirty once the GOP picks its nominee. Right now, the person who has the most to lose is Romney because Cain is catching up with him quick, even surpassing him in popularity in some areas of the country. Nope, I would not put it past Romney to do something like this. Wouldn't put it past Perry either. And this has nothing to do with Herman Cain being black, this is just dirty politics at work.

For the record, this latest Herman Cain "issue" is a non-issue for me. Yep you heard me. Until someone actually proves he did something wrong, which there is no evidence of, I'm not swayed.

Apparently the National Restaurant Association conducted an investigation on Cain's alleged "physical gestures that were non-overtly sexual" and found he had done nothing wrong. Mind you, considering the word overt means "deliberate" you can guess what non-overt means. Try it in a sentence now:  "physical gestures that were not deliberately sexual" makes a difference doesn't it? 

The two women involved were each paid in five figures. However, we don't know why there were paid.  Could it have been that these two women after years of service, were  embarassed to stay employed there after the investigation turned up nothing and so the NRA gave them severance pay? It's a possibility.  The truth is that we don't know exactly what the complaint was, we don't know the specifics of the money the women received, we don't even know who the women are, we have no real facts. We just don't know enough to warrant condemning a man's political career.There is no story, rather it's just another attempt to deflect from the real issues.

Find me concrete proof that he made deliberate attempts to harm or sexually harass these women in any way, shape or form and we'll talk. Until then, Herman Cain is still popular among millions of people and he's not out yet, not by a long shot. I look forward to him being a thorn in the side of Romney, Perry and even the GOP till the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mike Hale's NYT article features [H]ouse M.D. major cast changes...

Mike Hale of the New York Times wrote this excellent piece titled Old Shows, New Faces, Big Risks and one of the long-running series featured is House. He's got a few things to say which is actually what many longtime fans of the show have been saying since May...

House M.D.’
Fox, 8th Season
OUT Two important members of the ensemble — Lisa Edelstein, who would not accept a reduced salary, and Olivia Wilde, whose movie commitments became too time consuming.

IN Charlyne Yi and Odette Annable as new doctors on House’s team.

The wackiest network series in prime time has gone all in on cast changes before, most notably in the Season 4 bake-off in which seven new actors were added and three remained as regulars. But the losses of Ms. Edelstein’s Cuddy and Ms. Wilde’s Thirteen (who made a valedictory appearance on this week’s episode) are major blows. They were two of the show’s most entertaining characters, and they both had complex, push-pull relationships with Hugh Laurie’s Dr. House. Also missing in the early going this season are Jesse Spencer (Chase) and the always funny Peter Jacobson (Taub), and Mr. Laurie has shown the strain of carrying the show by himself.

Neither Ms. Annable (the hot-doctor replacement for Ms. Wilde) nor Ms. Yi has made much of an impression through the season’s first three episodes, though Ms. Yi’s monotone, affectless performance has the virtue of being not quite like anything else on the broadcast networks; the closest match is probably the slightly catatonic daughter, Louise, on Fox’s animated “Bob’s Burgers.” This being “House,” though, nothing is forever. Chase and Taub are scheduled to rejoin the team on Nov. 7.


Frankly I think Hale was being generous in his "B" grade but in all fairness we're only three episodes into what is likely the final season and things could get better or worse. You know where I stand on these cast changes. No sense in rehashing!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

[H]ouse 8x03 "Charity Case" better than last week's episode but still a long way to go.

Finally watched House episode 8x03 "Charity Case" and I felt like blogging my thoughts.  Mind you I'm not writing this to convince anyone to watch or not watch, I just feel the need to get out my thoughts on this season as I did last season. I'm not going to go through the entire episode but list the things I liked and disliked and why.

Things I did not like:

Foreman. He serves no purpose. Once upon a time he was a thorn in House's side because he was Cuddy's eyes and ears on the team. But as Dean of Medicine, do any of us really think House is going to listen to him? Ok so he can send House back to jail if he wants, but I don't think that's going to be a deterrent for House, not really. Do you? Besides do we really think Foreman is going to send House back to jail for anything? No matter how crazy House might be, Foreman still trusts House's judgment over his own when it comes to Diagnostics. Also, when House and Wilson were walking down the hallway debating the pros and cons of the POTW donating his kidney, what exactly was Foreman's purpose? There wasn't one, he simply let House and Wilson banter back and forth. As we all know, if it had been Cuddy, she would have been arguing with both of them and then told them both to shut up before she proceeded to talk to the patient and find out if he really was in his right mind to donate. If he was, she would have let him proceed. . Foreman's presence seems forced yet because Cuddy is gone, there has to be someone to keep House from indulging in his diagnostic madness. Foreman is just a poor substitute for Cuddy as Dean of Medicine, Hospital Administrator and the One Person Who Can Keep House In Line. Period.

Adams and Park. I mention them as a pair because as a pair they are more exciting than solo and that isn't saying much. They're boring. I get Park is really young and naive, still living at home with her very traditional and old-fashioned parents but her cuteness, soft voice and Velma haircut doesn't do anything for me. Then there's Adams who doesn't have any sort of chemistry with anyone there and really seems out of place.  Bring back Chase. Notice I didn't say Taub? That's because I really don't give a crap about Taub. Taub bores me. Chase and House together again has some potential. Just don't make the mistake of hooking Chase up with Adams. Please!

The lack of House at home scenes. Ok ok we're only three episodes in, going on four but I already miss House's apartment at 221B Baker Street. By the way, while we're at it, what about the music? Hugh Laurie is a fantastic musician and we miss House playing his piano. I can't believe he didn't play the piano in one single episode in Season 7. So many missed opportunities there. Remember "Cuddy's Serenade?" House composed for Cuddy specifically for Rachel's Simchat Bat in Season 5? We know how much Hugh loves his music and incorporating that into the series. Music is House's solace, his outlet, it's how he translates his pain into something meaningful and productive.We miss it.

Things I liked:

House cutting his hair, trimming his beard, now he looks normal again. Notice that Hugh's not wearing a hairpiece over his bald spot. Long hair looks awful on him anyway. He looked like a new man after the haircut, I really needed that. I say Go Hugh!

House saying "new life, new look"...well at least he's trying to be functional. He'll never be able to have a new life, not really, but at least he can figure out how to move on from the mess he made of his life last season.

House going to Wilson to discuss the case. Not exactly like old times but a start. Just NO chickens please!

Thirteen admitting to House on the phone that he had been a friend to her when she needed one. Who could ever forget those pic three words from Season 7's "The Dig" when he said to her "I'll kill you". Touching indeed. (Yes, it actually was).

The look on House's face when he rounded the corner of the lobby and saw Thirteen with her girlfriend. House knows what it's like to have someone to love and what it's like to feel loved and even though he's damaged beyond hope and that damage has deprived him of a relationship with Cuddy, the one woman he really loved,  he's not going to watch someone he actually cares about, someone with a very short life-span have to live in the same misery as him. There was nothing to be gained for House by firing Thirteen. Nothing. He actually did something selfless for someone else.

House was not the nasty jerk in this episode that he was in the previous one. He was snarky but not overkill and he wasn't mean. Of course it was funny that he wound up getting Park to swindle money out of Adams to get his car out of the shop but that wasn't mean that was just House. I was worried TPTB were going to turn House into a mean jerk in every episode. That's not the House we know and love, not by a longshot.

The POTW case was mildly stimulating but not among the best and haven't we seen this whole "nice guy really isn't so nice" case before?

All in all, I did not cringe in this episode as I did in the last one. I could barely get through "Transplant" while I was able to sit through "Charity Case" and be ok with it. With Shore's idea of getting back to the basics are we only going to have scenes at the hospital? Will the show be just about the medical cases and nothing else? House and his relationships with the people closest to him were a huge part of the show and always intertwined nicely with the cases, it would be a shame to see an end to exploring House and his relationships with others in favor of just pure medical stuff. There's only so far that will go till we get bored.

We know House is remorseful and sorry for his actions after the breakup with Cuddy, we know he misses her. You can just tell by the look on his face, he's so sad and miserable without her and over everything that's happened. House is a man of action not words, and Hugh does a brilliant job conveying House's feelings through facial expressions.  I still root for House. I want so bad for House to find happiness and have some kind of life but given everything he's been through in his life I just don't see it as possible. Cuddy was the one woman who was his equal match in every way and really made him happy and now she's gone. I don't think that throwing himself into his medical mysteries each week will be enough for him and hanging out with Wilson week after week will get boring.  I want redemption for House so he can move on but sadly it cannot come without Cuddy. And so week after week we'll sit there and watch House and have hope just to be slapped in the face by TPTB.

While it is refreshing to see House 's humanity in actions such as telling the POTW that wanting to be with his family his "healthy" and firing Thirteen under the guise of being his typical ass self but really doing it because he wanted her to go and be happy, thing long will this last? Shore himself has stated in so many words that House's journey is about trying to change but constantly failing.  House's life since the infarction is a series of one step forward two steps back. When it comes to Gregory House, we want to root for him, we want him to be a survivor, we want him to find some happiness, all this while being a damaged, masochistic, misanthropic pain in the ass. Shore gave us hope in Season 6 and then ripped that hope away from us midway through Season 7.  Here we are only three episodes into Season 8, and I already find myself holding tightly to the armrests of my lazyboy recliner and biting my lip anticipating that next bad thing the TPTB will do to ruin House's life and further tank our once favorite television show.

Only time will tell.

I miss the old dynamic. I can't help but think about it every week. Good Times.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements are both legitimate causes which have much in common.

I'd like to begin this post with remarks by a few folks who support the Occupy Wall Street movement:

LA Unified School District Employee Patricia McAllister says, "I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government . . . they need to be run out of this country."

Rocky Suhayda, leader of the American Nazi Party, “Who hold the wealth and power in this country? The Judeo-Capitalists. Who is therefore the #1 enemy who makes this filth happen? The Judeo-Capitalists."

I do not believe for a moment that the overall Occupy Wall Street movement is anti-semitic. I do believe that in any large movement, there will always be a few individuals who are part of it not because they believe in the cause, but because they wish to use it to serve their own personal agenda.

Occupy Wall Street organizers and supporters are criticizing individuals who use this kind of tactic as a means to support the OWS cause, and well they should. But when organizers and supporters of the Tea Party Movement condemned similar behavior within their own ranks, nobody bought it. Is there really any difference here? No. Both movements have gained huge support and as a result, both have a small number of idiots embedded within with their own agenda. Do we blame the overall movement for the idiocy of a few individuals? Of course not.

Here are some thoughts I have on the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements:

The Tea Party movement was borne out of citizens anger over excessive government spending and a rising national debt and federal deficit. Fair enough. I support the movement because I believe that we must reverse the irresponsible fiscal policies of the federal government. That's it. 

The Occupy Wall Street movement was borne out of citizens frustration with economic conditions and anger over corporate greed. I support the movement because I am tired of a few individuals in the highest ranks in certain corporations in America owning our politicians and essentially manipulating policy in this country.

Unfortunately there are individuals who have attempted to hijack the Tea Party Movement to promote their own agenda. At some point it became labeled as a conservative movement, tied to the Republicans. Not only have some Republicans attempted to exploit it for their own purposes, but others who  have spouted racist or hateful comments have exploited it as well. The news media and other organizations picked up on this and now the Tea Party is labeled racist, gun-toting, haters of the poor.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.

There are those who would attempt to hijack the Occupy Wall Street movement as well. The more publicity it gets and the more attention it draws, the more likely it is to happen. A number of groups are using OWS for their own purposes. One woman who is a gay rights advocate and part of the OWS movement stated, "In a parallel way, there doesn't have to be a message at this point. Everyone may have the things they feel most passionate about, but overall the message is 'We're not happy. We can do better.'"  

Her remarks imply that this movement isn't just about corporate greed, it's about anger and frustration. If you're pissed off and frustrated about anything, you should join this movement. Unfortunately I think that this "anything goes" mentality takes away from the real focus of the movement and waters down its importance. Also, as we read in the anti-semitic remarks above, there are those who hate Jews and would love nothing better than to blame Jews for the economic problems in this country. It's another case of one group of individuals attempting to hijack the true message of the OWS movement. This movement is not about hating Republicans, the rich, Jews, or white people, it's about corporate greed and Wall Street's ownership of politicians and manipulation of economic policies.

The roots of the Tea Party movement consists of individuals who are just sick and tired of the irresponsible fiscal practices of our federal government. I've met Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, Republicans and people with no party affiliation who support the movement. This movement should not be limited to any one particular political party, in fact, like OWS, it should transcend party lines and include people from all walks of life united under one cause--fiscal responsibility. That certainly is something people we should all support and we do not have to compromise our morals, values or principles to do it. The Tea Party is not a movement against gay rights, illegal aliens, abortion or Democrats, it's about irresponsible fiscal policies in our federal government.

Just as the base of the Tea Party are fighting fiscal irresponsibility,  the Occupy Wall Street movement at its roots, is fighting corporate greed. I'm a huge fan of capitalism and a free market and even I know corporate greed is a problem. I am against our politicians being bought and paid for by the men in in the highest ranks of the most powerful corporations in this nation. I think this movement should transcend all political parties as well because when our politicians can be bought, when the largest corporations own this nation, this is a very bad thing and affects all of us.

My point here is that there are many similarities between the two movements and that just because there are a few bad apples, they are not in any way representative of the whole bunch. At their core, both movements are legitimate, important, and necessary. Both movements consist of individuals expressing frustration and anger through free speech, they consist of an honest majority who believe in the true cause, and unfortunately both contain a small segment within that are there to promote their own personal agenda. We have to expect this, ignore the idiots and move on. Both the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party are important movements whose voices should be heard. We should support those in the movements whose common sense prevails and condemn those who subvert the movements through irrational, idiotic, and violent behavior.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Florida Governor Rick Scott discounts the value of a Liberal Arts education.

As a Liberal Arts (History) major I am appalled at Rick Scott's most recent claims related to Liberal Arts Majors and the workforce. The article linked above cites:

In addition to rethinking faculty security, Scott said he hopes to move more funding to programs that promise the best job opportunities after graduation, namely the science, technology, engineering and math departments, or "STEM" disciplines. This would ideally draw more high-tech companies to the state, thereby increasing job opportunities.

The governor cited liberal arts degrees like anthropology and psychology as examples of those with poor job prospects, saying he hopes to come up with more ways to incentivize students to pursue the STEM disciplines while discouraging them from liberal arts tracks.

A liberal arts degree is important and students who are studious, serious and determined will not only do well in their liberal arts majors but they will also be successful in the workforce. The liberal arts offers a well-rounded education and graduates may entertain many opportunities and a wide variety of professions that may or may not be related to their major. While an adequate income is important, young people should be entering majors that match their personalities, goals and career objectives as there is no sense in choosing a major that may earn an individual more income but in the end will not be fulfilling and interesting. After all we're not talking about educating people for jobs, we are educating them and preparing them for careers. There is a difference between a job and a career.

Wesleyan College President and Huffington Post Contributor Michael Roth did an excellent job explaining the value of a Liberal Arts education in his 2008 piece titled, What's a Liberal Arts Education Good For?.

Governor Scott should not be discounting any major, rather he should be encouraging students to do their research, find the major which best suits them (not necessarily the one which earns the highest income) and investigate all opportunities available for using the knowledge they gain in their education so that can be not only a productive member of the workforce, but be engaged in a career which is perfectly suited for them. 

The kind of workforce that is ideal is one in which the individuals employed in it are well-suited for their occupations. Individuals employed in interesting and challenging occupations which match their personalities, who have the opportunity to use their knowledge and experience, stay employed longer and are more productive in their occupations. This benefits the individual and his/her family, the employer and its stockholders/investors as well as the community, economy, and society as a whole.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My take on [H]ouse, M.D. episode 8x02 "Transplant" as well as some other odds and ends...

I knew the reality would hit me eventually, I just wasn't prepared for it. The "it" is House's eventual return to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. We all knew it would happen, but were we prepared for it?

I wasn't.

This episode  was House's return to PPTH. He returns to no Cuddy, no office, no team, and no friends. His patient? A pair of lungs inside a box. Oddly ironic for a guy who despises dealing with people. It seems an organ was his perfect patient.

As with most of the episode titles in the past, the title "Transplant" applied to both the patient of the week and the title character. Just as the set of lungs awaits its transplant into a new and seemingly unfriendly environment (the recipient is Wilson's cancer patient), so is House awaiting his transplant back to PPTH which is also a new and seemingly unfriendly environment now that all that was familiar to him is gone.

In this episode it is revealed that Foreman is the new Dean of Medicine. Of course that makes no sense to me and many other fans. This is the same guy Cuddy refused to give a reference for in Season 6 because he participated in unethical behavior during his girlfriend's Huntington's clinical drug trials.This is the same guy who was fired from New York Mercy for unethical behavior for going behind his boss's back and conducting unauthorized treatment based on a hunch. This is the same guy who couldn't land a job as a Neurologist anywhere after working with House and being fired from NY Mercy. For the show, the choice makes sense since they couldn't afford to hire someone else to take Lisa E's place, but the choice for the show just doesn't make sense. I cannot and will not wrap my head around Foreman as Dean of Medicine, especially after seeing that God-awful office of his. I miss Cuddy and her sense of style for sure. I loved her office. What exists in it now is horrid. I suppose Shore wanted to be sure there was absolutely no trace of Cuddy left in the hospital.

Why do I even question the idiocy of Foreman being Dean? It's not surprising. Continuity is lacking in some areas and the past is conveniently forgotten. David Shore completely intentionally glossed over the fact that House got his medical license and his job back after serving nearly a year in prison. We're supposed to overlook that detail. We're supposed to not ask the question "How on earth did he get his license back after what he did?" or "Why would the Board keep him now that Cuddy's gone?" I mean after all, the only reason House even had a job at PPTH is because of Cuddy and Cuddy alone. Remember--House had once been fired from four different hospitals until Cuddy hired him, created an entire department just for him, and gave him tenure to solidify his position there. Remember that Cuddy tackled Vogler and gave up $100 million rather than fire House. Remember too that Cuddy committed perjury on the stand in Season 3 to save his ass. Remember that Cuddy got him his job back after he came out of the mental institution in Season 6. Again and again throughout the series, Cuddy put it all on the line for House, part of this reason was professional and part of it personal. She knew his brilliance and she cared about him. Cuddy no doubt, was the reason House kept his job all those years.Cuddy fought the Board of Directors time and time again for House.

So it begs the question, now that Cuddy is gone why does House even have a job?

We're not supposed to ask that question. It's in the script, that's all we need to know.

Director and producer Greg Yaitanes insists to fans on Twitter that they need to stop paying attention to details in the series. But because the title character is in fact a doctor who pays attention to details, it's hard for fans not to do the same. We're just expected to gloss over errors in continuity like House having three different birthdates in three different episodes, or that the daily prescription of Zolpidem on Cuddy's nightstand in Season 7's "Bombshells" was enough to kill a horse, as well as numerous other seemingly minor details that fans have noticed over the years, which upon further review, just don't add up.  We like continuity, we like plots that make sense and answers that make sense

What were we thinking?

Anyway, back to the episode. 

There were a few funny moments between House and Park and House and Wilson. But only a few. I remember the days when entire episodes were memorable, not just a few fleeting moments. 

It didn't surprise me that they glossed over Cuddy's departure so quickly and with less than a handful of words. I do not believe is is any bitterness on the part of Shore, Yaitanes or the writers, after all Lisa Edelstein and creator David Shore remain on great terms, as do Lisa and Hugh. It's possible that it may be either too early for House to delve into his feelings about Cuddy's departure. Given that House is a man of actions over words and not one to reveal his feelings, it is not surprising he had nothing to say about Cuddy's departure. Again with House, the look on his face speaks volumes more than words could ever relate. Also, perhaps nothing Shore and Co. could do would ever give Cuddy's departure justice (or good closure for fans) without Lisa E actually being an active part of it. Would we really have been happy at anything they did related to it? Probably not. (Hey look, I watched for House, Cuddy, and Wilson so my hope is Lisa eventually returns in some way to aid in House's redemption and give good closure to the series.)

As to the supporting cast, I thought Foreman's character was dry in the episode. Of course I haven't really liked Foreman for a few years now, he's just dull. Charlene Yi as Chi Park was dry, humorless and boring. Then there was Wilson. I love Wilson. How could you not? He's just so damn likeable even in the past eps where he gave House some bad advice! In this episode, Wilson looked older, a little more gray in the sideburns, and a little more pale. Not surprising, he also looked tired and sad. I liked to see the effects of losing his two best friends (House and Cuddy) had on him. Despite his friendly outgoing personality Wilson really has no friends and he must have been very lonely after Cuddy left and House went to prison.  Wilson is an enabler to House but he's also needy. The reason Wilson continues to go back to that friendship time and time again is because he needs to be needed by House and partly because of what happened when he turned his back on his schizophrenic brother. Remember the story? I think Wilson always felt guilty that he hung up on his brother, went to the library to study and never saw his brother again. I think Wilson may feel that if he truly turns his back on House like he did his brother, he'll never see him again. Some people found it odd that Wilson would punch House and then meet him for dinner at his apartment, thus resuming their dysfunctional friendship but knowing how needy Wilson is and how much House needs a friend right now, it's not surprising at all. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. But what won't make sense is if the friendship goes back to being what it used to be and conveniently forgets everything that has happened in the last couple of years. Their friendship can't ignore what's happened and I am hoping the characters are finally able to talk about it. House and Cuddy's relationship and everything that took place afterwards is going to be the huge elephant in the room until they do.

As to Gregory House, well, I miss the old House. The old Greg House was a cranky, misanthropic, self-centered jerk but he had this quality about him that made us all love him and root for him. The old House, despite all his crankiness was funny, witty, charming, and he made us want to see him win in the end. Rewatching episodes from Season 1 and 2 there is no doubt the bits of humanity that emanate from his character. The more I watch old episodes, the more clearly I see it. The new House though I fear will be quite different. He's still cranky, misanthropic and self-centered but now he's just mean. I know, I know we're only into episode 2, but my favorite character lacks the lovable quality he once had. House just doesn't seem fun anymore, he just seems a much darker, lonelier and bitter man who hates everyone, including himself.  If House didn't think he deserved happiness before, he definitely will not think so now. In fact, I see this House as doing everything he can to make himself miserable as a means of punishing himself and trying to live up to that crazy notion he's always had that he was never a good person and never deserving of anything good, ever.

I had hopes this episode would be intriguing but I wasn't excited that House was returning to PPTH without Cuddy and with Foreman as Dean and I wasn't intrigued by a pair of lungs in a box. In this episode, Hugh just didn't seem on his game which is odd because Hugh always puts everything he's got into his role. A lot has changed on set now that Lisa is gone and even though Hugh himself said "the show must go on" it must be pretty hard to resume the fun dynamic they had when she was a part of it. Remember the days when the two characters would banter with one another on screen, behind the scenes they were having a blast making those episodes. That is obviously changed now. I wonder to what extent?

In all fairness, perhaps Hugh intended his character to seem darker in this episode? After all, given everything House been through in the past year or so, he's just not the same guy, is he? He can't just go back to being the same House as he was in the old days. Maybe he was supposed to be subdued and just plain bitter. House is at a really low point in his life. He's sad, lonely, miserable and heartbroken. I can't help but feel for him despite all he's done. We all remember how hard it was for him to open up his heart one last time despite his fears of being hurt. But he had to do it, he wanted to take that chance. He did and unfortunately both his and Cuddy's fears eventually caused them to break up. Cuddy was the one woman he really loved who was his friend for more than 20 years. When he lost her as his girlfriend he lost more than that, he lost one of his oldest and dearest friends, his protector, his savior and the only person who could ever keep him in line. How could he not change after that? House may insist he's fine, he may avoid the subject of Cuddy and he may act as if everything is back to normal but for him it will never be like it once was. He has changed. He's just going to try his damndest not to show it because change scares the hell out of him.

David Shore insists people don't change and that's the basis of House's character, no matter how hard he tries he can't change. The thing is, he has changed. There's no way the House we see now is the same House of earlier seasons. How can House not change after everything he's been through in his life?  At his core he may be the same lonely misanthropic cranky jerk but House has in fact adapted to all of the events that have taken place in his life. Some of the ways he has adapted to change have been good, some not so good, but the fact remains he has adapted and no matter how you look at it, that is change.  The reason I loved this character is because I felt for him, I had hope for him. Over the last seven years House's humanity has been revealed to us and once we got a taste of it, we wanted more. We didn't mind him being a cranky pain in the ass because we just loved the guy. We loved him then and we want to love him now.

I miss the excitement I used to feel in anticipating new episodes of House. Past seasons had me on the edge of my seat during previews, anxiously engaged in spoiler discussions on my favorite House-related website in the days prior to the airing of new episodes and even on the night they aired. Trust me when I say I do feel a slight twinge of guilt that I now go to bed at 9 pm on Monday nights, no longer engage in the Monday night LiveJournal live "House" discussions choosing instead to download and watch the new episodes on iTunes the following morning.  You know how I feel about everything that happened last season and there's no point rehashing it.I still love Hugh, notwithstanding the House mess. The guy could make reading the ingredients on a cereal box an Emmy-worthy performance. But still, I miss my old show. Thank goodness for iTunes, DVD's and syndication!

Next week" House gets a haircut (thank God!) and Prison Break's Wentworth Miller stars as the patient of the week. Odette Annable returns as Dr. Jessica Adams, fresh from being fired at her job in prison and hoping to find work on House's team and Olivia Wilde returns in her last episode as"Thirteen". 

Oh yes one more thing. Recently I told you all recently my mom watched her first episode of [H]ouse ever---which happened to be the Season 8 opener. She happened to be tuned into Fox that night and so she watched. She loved it! I told her that she had to begin watching from the beginning of the series in order to really see it in its "heyday". Fortunately that same week, Cloo Channel (formerly Sleuth Channel) which airs House marathons on Wednesdays, went back to Season 1 and started at the beginning. Mom just finished her second week of watching and she's hooked. I'm glad. It's really a fantastic show. I'll never stop wishing last season had ended with "After Hours". So many great places they could have gone from that ending.

More next week.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

[H]ouse, M.D. Episode 8x02 promos & synopsis

Four new promos for the October 10th episode of [H]ouse, M.D. 

Episode 8x02 "Transplant"

Foreman is the new Dean of Medicine (gasp!) and he gets House out of prison early to diagnose one of Wilson's patients. Wilson tells House they are no longer friends, House's office and DDX room  have been given to someone else, the old team is gone and House is left with a tiny office and a one-person team. House told Foreman he wanted away from his old surroundings but really you can tell he wants things to go back the way they were. Cuddy's gone so he can't get her back so he'll have to move on to get Wilson, his old team and his old office back.  Eventually he'll at least get all that but longtime fans know things really will never ever be the same.

I'll say once again I am not happy with the fact that Foreman is now Dean but given that Shore & Co. had no choice going forth this season without Lisa I guess we just have to suck it up. Doesn't mean we have to like it. Remember, I'm still watching only for Hugh & Bob, and that's it. Ratings for the 18-49 audience were allegedly good last week, making it the most watched drama but now that we're getting back to the hospital setting we'll see what happens. For what it's worth, I honestly do not see this season earning the kind of ratings it has in previous seasons, Hugh's exceptional performances aside.

By the way, House's hair will go back to its former self soon, I hate this long prison style! Uggh!

I couldn't help but chuckle after watching this one!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Elizabeth Warren seems anti-business to me...

If it were up to Elizabeth Warren, I don't think there would be such a thing as profit or the right of people to own their own business. She apparently lays the blame for the economic and social problems at the feet of American businesses. And she does NOT imply large or small, but all businesses.

Recently she talked about how taxpayer funded services benefit American businessmen:

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own -- nobody."

So all that hard work you put in running your company means nothing because really you didn't do a damn thing, your employees did. Well of course your employees worked but why does your contribution mean nothing because you own it?  If you're an owner/manager and you hire people to work out in the field, in the warehouse or in the office and your company makes money, while you make the management decisions, still you are not responsible for that. Her implication here is that American businesses are bad.

"You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory -- and hire someone to protect against this -- because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless -- keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay 
forward for the next kid who comes along."

I don't even know what to say to this. What? American businesses don't pay taxes? The inviduals who own them don't pay taxes?  Remember 99.7% of American businesses are small businesses, I posted that the other day. So thank you Elizabeth Warren for managing to insult 99.7% of the businesses in this country. Excuse me while I hurl.  She probably also believes profit is a bad thing too. She's probably also in favor of welfare redistribution, income caps, and the rest of that crap.

BTW, can you guess in what state she's running for Senate? Don't look it up....just guess. I bet you'll get it right the first try.

Monday, October 03, 2011

My review of [H]ouse, M.D. Season 8 premiere "Twenty Vicodin" and then some...

I liked the episode though I did not think it was great. I had to judge it without comparing to other episodes of the series. Just as with "Broken" which I thought was just fabulous (except for Lydia though in retrospect I suppose I can see why they threw here in there--that whole House making a connection then losing it thing) it has to be judged as a stand-alone. 

Hugh Laurie was great (so what else is new?) in this episode, making magic of what is written for his character, then again has there ever been an episode of House where Hugh hasn't been great? He's always been the type of man to put his "all" into everything he does, be it television, movies, music or writing. Great acting do absolute wonders for a mediocre script.

Things I liked:

House's softer side in regards to his cellmate's pet cricket. I love it when big burly killers have tiny little delicate pets they care for in prison! :) By the way, cute that he thanked his cellmate for not killing him.

House's chess-playing partner who saved his ass with words of wisdom a few times. One thing about being on the inside, you need to shut up sometimes and listen to the seasoned inmates, they know what they're talking about.

When House's cellmate stood up for him and beat the crap out of those skinheads. 

When he manipulated one inmate to beat up another so he wound getting not only his walkman back but his tuna too!  That's the manipulative House we know and love.

When House flushed the Vicodin down the toilet, said "nice knowing you" to his cellmate and headed to protective custody in defiance of the skinheads and then the epiphany moment, which happens in ever episode.

House's dialogue with skinhead Mendelsohn while getting their daily meds. I found myself laughing and having to rewatch that little scene again!

When House went to solitary for breaking the rules and that the look on his face (again it's actions not words that show us how he really feels) when he gets Dr. Adams note that he was right about the diagnosis. For House it was worth days in solitary with correctly diagnose a patient. That is the House we know.

The emotion House showed when anyone made reference to why he was in prison.

That little speech he gave to the POTW about "she's not your girl" and how he looked pained/remorseful/sad when he talked about "your job, your girl" in reference to everything being left behind. This is yet another one of those examples when something related to the patient relates to House a swell. This has always been done well in previous episodes and I thought it was well done here.

This last point reminds me of something. If one thing is consistent throughout the series, it is that House is a man of actions over words (which he has himself stated) so what he does speaks volumes more than what he says. In this episode it's not words, but somber facial expressions that tell us how House feels not just about running his car into Cuddy's house in a fit of rage but also how he feels about having lost the woman he loved, who kept him anchored and in line for so many years. These are two people who had a long and complicated history going back to their college days some 25 years ago. He is not about to get over this easily. At least he shouldn't if the right people are writing the scripts. Shore needs to be reminded of that.

Things I did not like:

The backtracking at the beginning related to the incident at Cuddy's house. In my opinion, Shore would have been better off actually leaving that out of it completely and addressing in another episode. Obvioulsy there to appease the masses. It did not work.

A detail about Adams at the beginning that bugged me. She was willing to risk her job to save the patient because she knows and believes in his "gift" for reading people. But at the beginning of the episode, he's been in eight months, has five days to go till parole and it was only at that time she found out House used to be a doctor. Why would she risk her job and potentially a patient's life for something she only just found out? She apparently knew nothing about him prior to this moment. I guess this is one of those implied things by TPTB where we are supposed to assume something behind the scenes. I know this seems trivial but it's details people, details.

My thoughts on the Team:

Foreman's going to bore me to pieces as Dean of Medicine. I used to love Foreman,  he was serious when he needed to be, an ass when necessary and funny sometimes. I don't know when it happened but I became bored with him and it's possible that happened when he hooked up with Thirteen back in Season 5.

Chase changed too, he's not funny anymore, he's not appealing. I loved him with Cameron, they were good together. But even when she wasn't around, Chase was funny and his sense of morality was a bit warped at times. I loved the ep where he was praying with the nun who was dying and the ep where he killed the African dictator Dibala played by James Earl Jones in S6. I love that Chase, miss him too.

Odette Annable as Dr. Adams doesn't impress me so far. She seems bland. If anything House will use her as someone he can manipulate to do his dirty work for him since, according to Foreman, the slightest slip will get him thrown back in prison. Adams doesn't need this job, she's a trust fund baby so she'll be easy to manipulate. Also, I believe her being hired by TPTB serves one purpose: eye candy for the 18-49 male audience. With Thirteen gone, there's nobody left for them to salivate over.

Charlene Yi--I don't know much about her character except she's really smart. Translation = boring. She's probably there to balance out the team and cater to those still pining over losing the brilliant Martha Masters.

Oh yeah I forgot someone--does anyone honestly give a crap about Taub? I mean seriously? It's Taub!

My thoughts on the future:

Frankly I believe it is foolish of Shore to think he can bring us back to the roots of the show. Well he might think he can but we're not buying it. Shore can't just magically forget years of history on screen between House and Cuddy whose complicated relationship stems not just from their meeting college but also from the fact they are both so very flawed, damaged and lonely people.  He can't just have House and Wilson suddenly become buddies again and move on laughing, pranking and carrying on as if nothing happened. Shore already implanted the backstory in the viewers heads, he did that seven years ago and he can't take it back. He cannot treat it as if it ever happened by pretending it never existed. Wasn't there a line in late S7 about "you can't go back" - maybe Shore needs to hire a better continuity person to keep track of what's said and done in previous episodes because that certainly applies here.

Unfortunately House cannot be redeemed without Cuddy. It can't happen. A person who seeks forgiveness (and my bets are that House wants forgiveness from the one person he loves most though he will never say it--he will show it) cannot receive it without the person they wronged being a part of the process. No matter what TPTB do, we are still left with a gaping hole where Cuddy used to be and where House and Cuddy's relationship as friends/colleagues/lovers used to be. House cannot be redeemed, gain forgiveness, nor can he even have anything remotely resembling closure to the past in an attempt to try and have some sort of life without Cuddy being a part of that in some way, shape or form. I'm not speaking just as a fan of the dynamics of the two since Season 1, I'm speaking as someone who has loved this show, the characters and the stories since day one. Again--It. Cannot. Happen. So we can only hope by some miracle (which is almost what it would take) Lisa Edelstein will come back to this show at some point to either save Cuddy and House or possibly vice versa, House saves both of them. I'm not talking purely in a physical sense necessarily but an emotional one as well. Nobody got them like they got each other. Nobody will ever really know how House or Cuddy feel deep down inside over what happened between them.

To be honest, we were all better off before TPTB got them together as a couple. Yeah they danced around each other for twenty-something years but the dynamic we had before between these old friends/colleagues: the snarky world renowned diagnostician and the tough-as-nails Dean of Medicine was just pure awesome. We can thank good writing but even more so great acting, chemistry and friendship between Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein who made it look so easy.

What I miss:

I could fill volumes with what I already miss about this show. My favorite three have always been House-Wilson-Cuddy either separately or together. All brilliantly played even when the scripts suffered. Cuddy will be missed in more ways than one. Both Cuddy and Wilson were important to House's life. Without one of them he just won't be balanced. Wilson is House's conscience as well as his enabler while Cuddy kept House in line and was the only person who could keep him in check and he liked that (it was kind of an exchange for him challenging her to be her best which he did). Wilson could never provide that for House. So it seems he will be unbalanced.  Now the dynamic trio is down to a dynamic duo. I don't know how much Bob will be active this season given his Broadway show has closed maybe he'll be around more but can he and Hugh carry an entire show? And should they have to?  I just don't see that it is possible,  nor is it right to expect it. It will be very strange watching House walk through the halls of PPTH with no Cuddy to be his foil, his protector, the one who kept him sane and in line. I don't think it can work without her. Not just because of her alone but because of what she was in his life and even in Wilson's life. Without her it will seem like something is missing, and rightly so, something is missing. 

I miss my old House series, the original characters, the pranks, the laughter and the incredibly riveting POTW stories that managed to tie into some area of House's life, making his humanity show just a wee bit. I remember times I felt so much emotion for what House was going through, I miss that. (Paternity, Autopsy, One Day One Room were just a few of the many eps that really made me FEEL for him).

What's coming next week:

Next week in episode 8x02 "Transplant" House is brought back to the hospital by new (as if we didn't already know) Dean of Medicine Foreman (seriously? Foreman?) for help in solving a difficult case and an opportunity to get his old job back in Diagnostics. He's wearing an ankle bracelet, told by Foreman if he gets out of line he's going back to prison, his office is the size of a janitor's closet (yes he eventually gets his old office back), he's got a new team and Wilson will have nothing to do with him.  By the way, I think that's when the big gaping hole left by Cuddy will really hit us because won't it be strange to see House roaming the halls of PPTH with no Cuddy there? 

More great reviews of  "Twenty Vicodin" at:

Lisa Palmer at

Anthony Ocasio at Screen Rant

Mindy Peterman at The Morton Report

Adam Wright at TVDoneWright 

Magali Levet at the VoiceofTV.Com

Also, if you get a moment you should read Max's extremely well-written "RIP Huddy" article at her blog. She is not only a big fan of House and Cuddy and appreciates what their unusual relationship from day one, she's a longtime loyal big fan of the show itself.  Max is a television and movie critic, editor and writer. For her it's not just the relationship between House and Cuddy that got screwed but her favorite show as well. Many of us have felt that the House (both the man and the series) we're seeing now is no longer recognizable. Her writing is worth the read, most definitely!

Editing mother told me today that she watched the Season 8 premiere and is now hooked on [H]ouse! LOL I told her it might be wise to start at Season 1 and work her way forward....this is probably not the best place for newbie to begin ya think? :)

Dear Dad on my 42nd Birthday...

Dear Dad,

Well, I made it another year. I can't believe I'm 42 already, seems like only yesterday I was a kid. I remember when you and mom were 42, that would have been around 1988. I was in the military when you guys turned 42 so I don't really know what was going on but I can close my eyes and remember what you guys looked like in your forties. You looked GREAT. Gosh now I'm you. It feels weird. Guess that's normal. You probably felt that way too. Looking back I had a pretty good life. Seems the older we get the more we remember the good times and less of the bad. We had many years of good times with you and mom. I am thankful.

As you can see a lot has changed in the three years since you died. Friends tried to comfort me by telling me "this too shall pass" and they were right. It was so hard at the beginning. The first few days I cried all the time. Then the first few weeks I cried less. After that the first few months were easier though every time an anniversary or birthday popped up that you should have been at, it started all over again. Eventually it got better until one day I realized I hadn't thought of your death for a few days. It didn't mean I didn't miss you, it just meant that I was finally able to move on. I didn't plan it, it just happened.

For a year after you died, I would wake up on Tuesday mornings reminded that it was a Tuesday that you went into the hospital after suffering the stroke. Then Tuesday evenings around 9 pm is when it would hit me that was the moment I talked to the doctor on the phone and she told me you were dying and we needed to return to the hospital. Just after the phone call, I had to call mom and tell her so she would know why I was on my way back to her house to get her. How do you tell your mom that your dad is dying? That's the worst thing I've ever had to do. Then when I'd wake up on Wednesday mornings it was with a feeling of dread because you died on Wednesday morning at 6 am. For 24 hours, from Tuesday 6 am to Wednesday 6 am I was like a zombie. Even though we buried you the day after you died, oddly enough that day, Thursday, never haunts me. The the rest of the week was ok until Tuesday rolled around again. Then one day it stopped. Tuesday was just Tuesday and Wednesday was just Wednesday. I don't really remember how or when that happened, it just did.

Do you see what's happening in our lives? Are you a ghost wandering in and out of our homes visiting us and making sure we're ok? Mom saw you and felt you for a long time, maybe because you knew she needed you and wasn't able to let go yet. I know you were around me, I could feel it and I believe it was because you knew I needed you there. And maybe when you realized we'd be ok you were able to let go too? I don't know how it works when a person dies but I'd like to think their spirit is there somewhere guiding the ones they loved. I guess we'll never really know. When you were hanging around watching over us you probably saw and heard a lot you wished you hadn't. You probably saw a lot of arguments and fights and cursing and tears. You probably saw us very depressed and sad. Were you sad when we cried? Were you angry when someone wronged us? Were you able to feel anything? Did you feel helpless that you could not help us? I often felt bad that you might be watching me on days I cried myself through being depressed over something. I knew that you never wanted us kids to ever be hurt and it would hurt you to see it. But really, if you saw us at our lowest then you also saw us when things were good. And you knew that we'd be ok eventually. 

I'm doing really well in school, I'm a senior now and my GPA is 3.56. That's because I have an "incomplete"g grade in a course. Once it is changed to an "A" it will go over 3.6. You know how much I wanted to be a stellar student at my age.  I know you would have been upset if I'd dropped that semester you died and you of course know I didn't drop, I kept going. My professors encouraged me not to drop, but to stick with it and I'm glad I did. That Medieval Germany class kicked my ass and still I walked away with a B+. I know you would have liked that. If you recall, you told me that you wanted to read my paper on Charlemagne. You were fascinated with him, with the Roman Empire and history overall. I remember how you laughed when I told you that our family history had been traced back to English and French Royalty and ultimately to Charlemagne. You got a real kick out of that. You loved History as much as I did! I'm sorry you didn't get to read my paper on Charlemagne but it was really very good. But I think you already know that. Oh yeah I was telling someone the other day how much you enjoyed history and how you just loved that picture of our Wallace ancestor with General George Custer. Now I think I know where I got my love for history!

School has been a struggle at times, taking so many classes and working full time but you would not have liked it if I used any excuses and dropped. You wouldn't have been angry or disappointed but you would have felt bad because you knew I was more than capable of doing it and doing it well. Besides, you were not one for excuses, why should I be? I wish you could have stuck around so we could talk about all these really great courses. We would have had some great conversations about politics right now. You died only a few months after President Obama took office so we really didn't have a chance to talk about his presidency. Too bad, it would have been interesting. I wonder what you would have thought about how this economy has tanked? You certainly would have predicted it for sure. Funny how we tended to agree so much in regards to politics. Like me you seemed to be more of an independent. You didn't mind hugging bunnies or trees and yet you were somewhat of a conservative too. You were once union and then you were anti-union. I love telling people stories of how involved you were with the Union back in the day and how you were a steward and you went on strike with Southern Bell and then later how you saw what was really going on in the Unions and you left. You knew firsthand what was going on and you refused to be a part of it. 

Every now and then I go to the cemetery to see you. It's hard though. I park my car in front of your grave and I talk to you. The last time I went was at night after my therapy session and I cried for two hours straight. I yelled at you too. Did you hear it? I was angry at you for leaving us. I kept saying it wasn't fair, you should have taken better care of yourself. Damn right I was mad. You were just days from turning 63, you should have been here for it. I think it's ok to get angry at you occasionally. I feel like you abandoned us even though you really didn't. You couldn't have predicted what would come though I believe that you knew you were going to die soon. You probably didn't know how or when but you knew didn't you? Hence all the things you did for mom at the house, finishing things up for her, getting all your affairs in order. You were in pain, you couldn't sleep, you knew. To be honest, we all hated seeing you in pain from the arthritis.  We hated that you still smoked. We hated that you were growing old too soon. But despite that you fought that last year to get a lot of things done. And that's because I think you knew. You were always like that.

You used to agree with me when I said "everything happens for a reason." because I think you believed that too. I think about what it would have been like if you had survived the stroke only to wind up in a wheelchair or in a bed being fed and changed by a nurse for the rest of your life. It would have been a miserable existence for you. You always said you wanted to die in your sleep and not in pain and you got your wish. How many people get to choose how they die without actually doing it to themselves? You didn't want to die, but you wanted to be out of pain, that much I can be sure of. You obviously did something right dad because you weren't in pain when you died. You were in a hospital bed surrounded by family and you passed as peacefully as anyone could hope for. If there was anything good I took out of that whole situation it was that. You lived on your terms and died on your terms.

I felt guilty for not being there you know---when you died. I was so tired, we'd been at the hospital all day and night and it was 4 am and I needed to sleep. I was just so tired and worn, I had to go home. I thought for sure I'd make it back in just a few hours. You can't imagine the guilt I felt at not being there when you left us. First Wendy called me, then Kim just after it happened. I just lay there in my bed because really there was nothing I could do. But knowing it was inevitable doesn't make it any less shocking. Weeks later, my "everything happens for a reason" mentality clicked in and I kept thinking maybe I just wasn't supposed to be there. I'd spent all day and night up there with the family talking to you and laughing and crying with everyone. You knew we were all there, I just know you did, we know you did. You didn't want me to be there at the end, for whatever reason it wasn't supposed to happen. So instead of beating myself up over it, I accepted that it was meant to be that way. 

Did you know I'm in therapy now? Not because of your death but for many other reasons. Well maybe you dying was part of the catalyst that put me there, but it isn't your fault.  I figured out I just needed to talk to someone about things. It's done me a world of good, in fact, for the first time ever I've been putting me first. You'd like that. You always worried I took too much of my own time to take care of everyone else. I am putting me first now and it feels great. I still struggle with a lot of issues but I do feel much better now that I am talking to a professional. It's helping me be the more confident, strong person you always knew I could be. You always hated to see us kids in pain and it probably hurt you more when you couldn't do anything about it. But just remember, we're adults and responsible for our actions, we can take control of our lives if and when we choose. I chose to do that and never looked back. I'd like to think if you were still around I would be doing this but I don't know. Maybe it took you dying combined with turning 40 midlife crisis to get me moving in the right direction. I guess it doesn't matter how I got here, just that I did.

Dad, I'm still sometimes angry at you. I just think you should know that. You dying was NOT ok. It pisses me off you left us so soon. Mom needed you, we all needed you. Your mom and your sisters never even had a chance to say goodbye. I can't even imagine how brokenhearted they were--and still are. I had a hard time talking to Annette after you died because we'd both break down in tears. Mamaw lost her only remaining son and Annette, Martha and Judy lost their baby brother. I know how much pain mom, grams, Aunt Jo Ann and us kids were in but what about your family up in Georgia? It was so devastating for them. I don't think they will ever get over it. Especially Mamaw. So yeah I'm angry at times because I feel like you leaving was selfish. But I'm not mad at you. Honest. In the end how could I be mad? You're not in pain anymore. It hurt us all every day knowing how much pain you'd been in these last few years from that damn arthritis and bad disks. You got that way because of us. You spent nearly thirty years in manholes or up on telephone poles earning good money to take care of your family and look how it hurt you physically. I shouldn't be angry,  I should be thankful. And I am. I tell people about the sacrifices you made for us. I am proud of those sacrifices.

Dad there's so much more I want to say but I can save it for another day. I just felt I had to write this because it's my birthday and it's the third year you are not here to celebrate with me. You should be here but I've made peace with it. You of all people would not want us brooding about you being gone, you used to laugh and tell us that when you died we should bury you back in the woods and move on LOL. Well you're not back in the woods (though it's too bad we didn't put you there because it would have been cool to build a bonfire in the woods and  hang out with you on Saturday nights LOL) but we did move on. It was hard, but we did it. We really didn't have a choice. It's what you wanted. You'd be proud.  

Love, Gaga

ps...Every time I make a salad and put tomatoes on it, I think of you. I recall those good old days about a decade ago when I was living with you and mom and I'd come home from the gym and for dinner I'd cut up half a dozen tomatoes into a bowl and eat them with oil and vinegar. There you were, sitting at the breakfast bar in the kitchen watching reruns of Law and Order and watching me---till I fixed you a bowl too. Guess the apple never fell far from the tree eh? Good times.