Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Can I Get Back To You?

August 8th, 1975: Liza Minnelli began as a surprise replacement for Roxie Hart!
One thing I know
And I've always known
I am my own best friend
Baby's alive
But baby's alone
And baby's her own best friend
-Fred Ebb and John Kander, Chicago

Happy August 17th, 2016!
August 17 is the 230th day of the year . There are 136 days remaining until the end of the year. 82 Days till election day
Friends or acquaintances?  What makes a good friend

As I began my blog today, I was listening to a "friend" play the violin on my Ipod. I put the word friend in quotation marks because I am on a quest to determine who my friends are...and are not.

I've been thinking a lot lately about "friends" and what makes a good friend. 
I have a dear friend and we speak almost daily. 
We have yelled at each other and we have shared our ups and downs. Most of our conversations over the past few months have been mostly about politics. Luckily, we are both on the same side in terms of our thoughts on what is happening to our country. 

The GOP nominee is all about building walls and his divisive rhetoric has really divided this country.
You're The best friends anybody ever had!

It is even pitting friends against each other. I have seen many posts on Facebook saying essentially, "If you feel differently, "un-friend" me now." Now, I ask you...Does that sound like the behavior of true friends? 
Surfing around, I recently found this post: This is MY page and I will support who I choose to support. I also do my homework and I'm for Hillary Clinton...if you support Donald Trump then you go against everything I have fought for all my life, including my right to marry who I choose. Go ahead and have your opinions but
Bette Midler's rendition of Wind Beneath My Wings epitomizes friendship
NOT on my page...I'm not here to debate anyone. My views are my views and I ask you to respect my choices as I will respect yours. If you can't, then UNFRIEND me immediately because you are no friend of mine. 

I also have a friend who recently got very upset because of an infraction against him that is all within his mind. As an adult in my mid fifties, I am still learning on a daily basis on how to navigate the waters of friendship, both real and imagined.
Friend Anita Gillette

The older I get, the more baffled I am by human behavior. On a daily basis, I am let down by those that I love the most. Guess what? I'm not alone! I hear the same disappointments from others about the people they hold dear and near. Some people are so focused on themselves in this narcissistic age that they are oblivious as to what is going on around them. Facebook and Twitter have given many a distorted version of who their friends are...and are not. I wrote in a previous blog as to how excited I was when I reached the 5,000 mark (the limit!) of friends on Facebook.   

“Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any better.” ~Unknown

Me and my sister friends forever

I learned very quickly that sometimes it is a burden. It is a huge load to try and manage and keep those friends. Many are people who desire to be in my circle because of my belief system. Some because of my work. Some because of my connections. It is amazing how connected we all are and can be through social media.
It is even more amazing how it is distancing us. In my social circles and through networking, I also meet people face to face. It happened last night. I came home with five business cards in my wallet. How do I "friend"

them on Facebook when I already have 5,000 friends. That should be my biggest worry of the day!
But I start thinking about who communicates with me? There are some people that I don't know outside of Facebook. There are even some who I don't think would cross the street for me.
That's fine. I get it. Everybody is caught up in their own worlds. There have been some that have been "unfriended" who realize it five or six months or even longer later and reach out to find out why they were unfriended. It doesn't mean I like them any less. It simply means there has been no activity between us in some time.
By the way, I'm VERY accessible AND I respond to everyone!
What Facebook has done either directly or indirectly have created little kingdoms.
Each person is the star in their own kingdom. They can choose what content is allowed in their kingdom and who are the other players in that show?
It depends on the likes and dislikes of the "star". If they disagree with YOUR point of view you get unfriend or worse BLOCKED. I, too, have a list of blocked people who, at one time or another, were
Anita Gillette, Penny Fuller, KT Sullivan
Facebook "friends". What does it take to get blocked from my page?
Crossing the line, offending another person, offensive or abusive language. I use my social media for supporting others and, this season, for posting articles relating to the political climate. You are welcome to weigh in either pro or con as it is done civily. When you begin to attack the messenger whether it be or not that is a big no no. Let's ALL get along. Let's all celebrate each other. I'm truly here for you. I hope you are for me as well.
Now, I'd like to share the following from my friend, Ellen Eason.
 When a Friendship Disappoints by ©Ellen Easton
I do believe in Karma and what goes around comes around

"Friendships begin and friendships end for many reasons. No one goes through life without experiencing the end of one or more friendships. 

The demise of a friendship is not unlike the demise of a romance.  The disappointment one feels when a friendship ends can be profound. Why? Because the foundation of a friendship is bound by a mutual respect, trust and support between two people.  When those basic principles are shattered, as with Humpty Dumpy the pieces cannot be put back together again.  Sometimes, one must take a stand to choose between keeping a friend or knowing when it is time to let go.

One of my first such loses came when I was in my early twenties.  I had a school friend who was a part of my core group of very best friends.  We spent countless hours, days, weeks, months and years together sharing the intimate details and secrets of our lives. From time to time, I had witnessed her being disrespectful, including
with Ilene Graff and Barbara van Orden
to the parents of other friends, but not to me or my family. We never once had a disagreement, let alone a fight.  I thought we were great pals.

Then one day, while visiting my home, this friend took it upon herself to insult my mother. For those who did not know my mother, she was a sweet, kind and generous woman. My friend's outburst was unprovoked, unwarranted and most certainly unacceptable.  My mother was stunned, as was I.  We both asked her to apologize.  When she refused, she was asked to leave.  I was crushed to lose what I thought was one of my best friends.

Over a year passed with no contact when the telephone rang.  It was my friend calling to tell me she
with the late great Dana Lorge. We were like a married couple
was engaged to be married and wanted me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  I replied that I would be happy to accept provided she first apologize to my mother. One week later, I received a letter stating her refusal to apologize to my mother and closing with me being uninvited me to her wedding.  At that point I no longer cared.  In fact, I was grateful to learn early that she lacked character and spared myself from wasting any more time in the relationship.

We all make mistakes.  No one is perfect.  A real friendship can survive disagreements. However, a real friendship cannot survive jealously, disrespect or betrayal.
It is up to each individual to set the bounds of what is and what is not acceptable conduct within the confines of a mutual relationship."

Again, I urge you to READ, RE-READ, and TAKE NOTES! Some history should not be repeated.

As you can see, we have a LOT to be proud of. We also have a lot to be concerned about. Let's all agree to celebrate that pride in each other! 

Please send your suggestions for future blogs to

Thank you, to all mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs from YOUR pro-active friend,

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Dolly Gallagher Levi!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Julie Budd Celebrates Her 50 year career with Herb Bernstein on September 21st at NYC's Metropolitan Room. Click HERE for Tix
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper, 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Confessions of a Bullied Kid/Adult

In memory of Daniel Fitzpatrick and all the bullied people of the world
We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world. And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common - which is - we all want to be happy. Ellen DeGeneres

It is Monday, August 15th, 2016.
August 15 is the 228th. There are 138 days remaining until the end of the year. 
There are 84 days to the election. This is a tough blog for me but one that needs to be written.

Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows.

There’s a shocking, devastating story about a boy that exploded on social media a few days ago, and for very good reason. 
13-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick told in his own words about what happened in school that led him to take his own life.This past week, 13 year old Daniel Fitzpatrick took his life in Staten Island. He was bullied relentlessly by five guys in school that made his like a daily hell. 
He says that his teachers and the adults around him did nothing. As I heard this, my heart broke. This was not just another news story. These tragedies have become far too common in our country.
It was/is my story. It is the story of so many that I know and have known over the years. Some of what I write today, may be repetitive, but I feel that it needs to be told. 

You may feel that he, me, or "fill in the blank", is not part of your personal circle, that it doesn't affect you.  
I have known several people in my life who have committed suicide. That is another blog topic. Today, I want to focus on bullying and our bullying kids. The title for today's blog comes out of Daniel's suicide note. I think of Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life. Where was Daniel's Clarence? Some angel did not get his wings because Daniel was failed by the people around him. He says this bullying went on for about five years. Oh My God! I wish I could be there to put my arms around him and try to get through this. I
Me as an innocent child not knowing what the future holds
beg all of my readers, if you see someone being bullied, please step up to the plate. Intervene. Do something. 

Here are some ways you can make a difference when you see bullying:
  1. Don't join in or watch bullying. Bullies love an audience. ...
  2. Stop any rumors. If someone tells you gossip, don't pass it on to others. ...
  3. Stand up for the person. ...
  4. Tell an adult. ...
  5. Encourage the bullied person to talk to an adult. ...
  6. Offer support.
I know this might seem strange, but when I look at childhood photos of me, I sometimes get sad. I was bullied from a very early age and the fantasy world of movies, music, and the theatre got me through it all. I also had big dreams. I was going to go beyond the borders of my existence and I would show them all. No matter how bad it got, I was going to get out. There are a few names that, even today, as I think back, the pain is still there. Why? What makes a bully? Why does one feel that they need to be superior to everyone else. Also,
with my Dad and my sister
when there is a bully, usually there are others that gravitate to the bully more so than the victim. 

It started for me when I started school. I was very myopic. It was ages before I got glasses and could clearly see the world. My myopia was made fun of
Guys would walk over and knock my books out of my hand and when I kneeled down to pick them up, I would be kicked over. I had some guys who forced me to eat dirt. I was called derogatory words that I didn't even know the meaning of.

My parents used to leave us with a baby sitter and her son who was bigger and older than me used me as a punching bag. 

Those who don't believe in magic will never find it. - Roald Dahl

I begged my parents not to take me back there. My dad's response was to learn to fight back. My mother was indifferent. His mother laughed it off.
It continued throughout school. As I got older, I realized that I could use humor to diffuse the pain. 

I started doing lunchtime concerts on the front steps of our high school. I would mimic the shows that I saw on TV the night before and the kids and teachers loved it...although there were
still those that made the taunting worse. When I was thirteen, I had an aunt say to me that she wished I had never been born. I don't really talk about this much out of respect to my family, but it was around this time that the biggest bully in my life was my father.
My father was an alcoholic and my teen years was the time when his drinking was the worst. My father was not a social drinker. He didn't go to bars or drink with a few friends (outside of a few cousins of his that he drank with from time to time). 
His drinking was behind closed doors. When you live in that environment, life is always hanging in the balance. You never know when, where, or how his next outburst would take place. As the
oldest, I was the brunt of his anger. I tried to talk about it when I was in my thirties, but he laughed me off and said that I had imagined it all.
I loved my father and I have no anger or bitterness towards him. As an older man, I realize that he had a disease. He also struggled to provide for a wife and four kids. He did the best he could. 
Strangely enough, I think it was a gift. If I had come from a nurturing background, I don't think I would have stuck it out when I first came to New York. No matter how bad it got here (and my formative years were rough), I never felt like I had anything to go back to. I had to forge ahead. To me, there was no other alternative.
But even as an adult, there are other aspects of bullying that I have encountered. 
I arrived in New York on August 5th, 1979. I had a place to go. The person was from my hometown. His father was prominent in our school system. He had even designed the lighting for a show that I had done with our local theatre. He led me to believe it was his own apartment and that he had a company that I could work for. THAT opened the door for my entree into New York. Unfortunately, they were all lies. Not only was the apartment not his, but he had two roommates! One of them was OK with my being there, but the other hated me from the first moment she lied eyes on me. I could stay there as long as I agreed to do the cleaning and laundry (I
was also paying rent!)
I was three weeks before I found out that it was a sublet and that I had two weeks to move. We all did.
Also, as far as the job, that was a lie as well.ewas a temp! I got my first NY job as a messenger in the Wall Street area of NY. at $6.00 an hour. It was 1979, but still! 

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. Make sure you're proud of them
Quote found on Twitter today

A guy that I was working with had just lost his mother and was looking for a roommate. Someone was looking after me!

I want to back up for a moment. At my first audition in New York, August 9th, I met a woman who became my New York Auntie Mame. From the moment we met, her eccentricities drew me to her. We were almost like Harold and Maude. She took me under her wings and introduced me to all of the landmarks of New York. We remained friends as I began to acclimate myself in New York.
As I began to make friends on my own and to branch out, however, she became insanely jealous.
She had one friend, during my early formative New York years, that said some very hurtful things "innocently" that hung over me for a long time like a dark cloud hanging over my head. 
Over the years, I have been taken advantage of by those that I have trusted the most. I have been the victim of innuendo and gossip based on "feelings" that have been based on nothing. One thing I have learned in my lifetime is that I have no control over that. All that I have control over is how I react to it. I try and rise above it. It is not always easy. And now, we have social media. There are people who feel safe and secure behind their keyboards and screens saying horribly cruel things about others. I have read things that make me question humanity. My personal philosophy is that if I've offended one person, I've offended one person too many. I try and always be aware of that. 
We live in a bullying culture. Every reality show is based on bullying. Someone is going to be kicked off the island, or fired or made to feel 'less than'.

Our comedies are about put down humor. Comedians say horrendous things about others and because they are comedians, it's "allowed". One well known comedienne constantly says, "That's what we do."
It has seeped into this year's election with one of the candidates exhibiting all the attributes of what defines a bully. Donald, please note children are listening. Young Mexican and Muslim kids are being told that a wall is going to be built to keep them out. We need to celebrate our differences rather than dividing each other.
A few years ago a campaign was launched, It Gets Better. 
We need to drive this message home constantly.
I saw Florence Foster Jenkins last night. A film I highly recommend. There is a moment in the film in which columnist of the day Earl Wilson wrote a very hurtful thing about Jenkins in the New York Post. Spoiler Alert: Wilson goes to Jenkins'
Florence Foster Jenkins Credit: Getty Images
concert at Carnegie Hall. After her first number (as depicted in the film) and rushes off to attack her in print.
He asked her husband,“Why?” “She loves music,” said St Clair Bayfield, a minor actor who had been her secret common-law husband since 1909. “If she loves music,” said Wilson, “why does she do this?”
WHY did he have to be so cruel with his column? Go see this film!
I would also like to commend my friend Carly Ozard in her brutal honesty in this article in which she discusses her own bullying. Click HERE.
I didn't write this blog to elicit sympathy. It is part of the landscape of who I am. It has shaped who I am today for better or for worse.
Now, I have a five day request to all of my Facebook and Twitter friends: Spend five days focused on others rather than posting selfies and things about yourself. Let's ALL support each other. Daniel Fitzpatrick, you will always live in my heart.

School bullying statistics in the United States show that about one in four kids in the U.S. are bullied on a regular basis. Between cyber bullying and bullying at school, the school bullying statistics illustrate a huge problem with bullying and the American school system. Read MORE.

With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Dolly Gallagher Levi!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper,

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trump vs. The Media

“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” 
-Donald Trump

Happy August 14th, 2016!
August 14 is the 227th day of the year. There are 139 days remaining until the end of the year. This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Friday or Sunday (58 in 400 years each) than on Wednesday or Thursday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Monday or Saturday (56).
85 days till the election. I don't know about you, but it seems to me as if this has been one of the longest election seasons in my lifetime. As I sat down to begin my blog today, believe it or not, I'm listening to Barbra Streisand singing Happy Days are Here Again on the radio. I hope it's an omen.
Daily, we have been bombarded with the latest Trump Moment.

The idea for today's blog when I read the following this AM: Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday morning, attacking The New York Times and the media as 'disgusting and corrupt' and blamed what he called dishonest reporting for his recent dip in the polls. (Source: AOL)

I don't think that this campaign would have gotten this far twenty-five years ago. Our culture
This entire campaign is like a Marx Brothers movie
has changed. Our media has changed...and, in my opinion, not for the better. Trump is a product of the Kardashian age. He is a television star running for POTUS and there are many who are entertained.
I am not one of those who is being entertained. Actually, I am appalled.

I write to discover what I think.
Daniel Boorstin

Leslie Moonves, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, said "He may be wrong for the country, but he is good for ratings.". From the day last June when Donald and Melania descended down the escalator to announce his run for the presidency, the late night comics went to
town. He was fodder for a joke. There were many who discounted him. He would not fill out the proper paper work...He did...He would not make it through the debates, he did. As a matter of fact, there were sixteen other people running against him, he bullied each and every one of them right out of the school yard.
He began by coming up with nick names to taunt them with every time he acknowledged or referred to them with. Every time a reporter or a media outlet reported anything that Donald said, IF they agreed with him, they were GREAT. If
they didn't agree with them, he once again reverted to schoolyard antics.
In addition to that, he says one thing one day and when he is questioned on it, he either comes right out and says he didn't say it (even when we have tape to PROVE that he said it) OR he says that it was sarcasm or that the left media is twisting his words.
No, Mr. Trump, YOU are running for President. When you say something, OWN IT! Hook, line, and sinker. NOTHING you say should be left open to interpretation.
Will the REAL Donald Trump please stand up? Or has he already?
Because of reality television and social media, this campaign has played out like no other. We used to have news cycles. Now, we have Trump Moments. At 6 AM, 3 AM, or whenever the urge hits him, Trump send out a tweet. Instead of censoring the media, Donald, you need to censor yourself.
When I have something to say that might have some impact on another person, I have a rule of thumb. I run it by at least three people to get their feedback BEFORE I send it. By the time I get to the third person, I realize it was either not worth sending, needs to be amended, or does need to be sent.
I truly have not read too many of Donald's tweets that would fall into the last category. Most of the Tweets that we have seen since the beginning of this campaign are attacks or pleas for divisiveness.
As if the Tweets were not enough and have led practically every news program around the world, but sometimes Donald would call into live programs and immediately get a platform to speak. I think the media has been more than

generous to you Donald with the coverage you have received.
Every press conference or rally would be cut into to see what outrageous comments you would be making on any given day.
Early on in your campaign, your campaign manager,Corey Lewandowski said it clearly and plainly, Just Let Trump Be Trump. And you have. It has amazed me how many in your party, with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, at the top, saying, "We're going to wait and see if Trump pivots." Why should you pivot? You've already revealed to all of us who you truly are. Mrs. Clinton, please take a page from Lewandowski's playbook. Let Trump be Trump. Don't respond to him on any level. You have the support of millions including many in his own party. Fly High as he goes low to paraphrase another great lady.
The ALL SEEING Wizard of Oz
Speaking of  Lewandowski, how wonderful that after he was fired, he is immediately hired by CNN to stump for Trump and to join him to give you fair coverage, Donald, they have Kayleigh McEnany AND your spokesperson Katrina Pierson. The three of them have hung on to every nugget you have given the American public. I have seen nothing like it since "God" handed Charlton Heston the Ten Commandments. You have done no wrong in their eyes and they are going to interpret for the American public what it is exactly that you've said as if you've spoken a foreign language that only you and your supporters can decipher. Too bad Robert Preston
Elmer Gantry - Burt Lancaster as preacher Elmer Gantry
is no longer with us to play you in the eventual movie. He did such a great job as con artist Harold Hill.
I always thought that the media was supposed to give candidates equal air time. There used to be an equal air time rule in media. There are not enough hours in the day to give Mrs. Clinton the same amount of time than Donald has received if she got her own network and ran 24/7 from here to election day.  Donald, the media has been very good to you. Put on your big boy pants, own your actions and words and take responsibility for whatever happens instead of blaming everybody else!

Ryan and Tatum O'Neil, Paper Moon
Here are some Trump moments from the last week (Mostly TODAY!)
Morning Joe's weakness is its low ratings. I don't watch anymore but I heard he went wild against Rudy Giuliani and #2A - sad and  irrelevant!” Trump tweeted.

Certain Republicans who have lost to me would rather save face by fighting me than see the U.S.Supreme Court get proper appointments. Sad! 8/14/16 9:20PM EST

"Stay on message" is the chant. I always do - trade, jobs, military, vets, 2nd A, repeal Ocare, borders, etc - but media misrepresents! 8/14/16 8:20PM EST

 I have always been the same person-remain true to self.The media wants me to change but it would be very dishonest to supporters to do so! 8/14/16 8:20PM EST

It is not "freedom of the press" when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever
they want even if it is completely false! 8/14/16 1:30PM EST

Again, I urge you to READ, RE-READ, and TAKE NOTES! Some history should not be repeated.

As you can see, we have a LOT to be proud of. We also have a lot to be concerned about. Let's all agree to celebrate that pride in each other! 
Please send your suggestions for future blogs to

Thank you, to all mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs from YOUR pro-active friend,

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Dolly Gallagher Levi!
Click HERE to see a tribute to the 1969 movie soundtrack of HELLO DOLLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Julie Budd Celebrates Her 50 year career with Herb Bernstein on September 21st at NYC's Metropolitan Room. Click HERE for Tix
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper,