Dear Libra: Advice Worth Reconsidering

Dear Libra,
My husband’s cousin is getting married back east in April and we’re invited. Frankly, I don’t much care for his family and it will be a hassle and an expense for the four of us to travel for a weekend. My husband feels the same but insists we go so the kids can spend time with his parents. How about it, Libra. Should we just grin and bear it?

—Debby P.

Dear Debby,

Like it or not, once you’re married, your husband’s family commitments are your family commitments, so get ready to say yes to the stress.

I wonder though why your husband couldn’t find a graceful way to bow out of the wedding and schedule another trip where the kids could spend quality time with the grandparents.

Still, if declining the invitation is going to inflame an already tense family situation, being polite and enjoying a catered meal isn’t the worst thing you’ll ever do.

Of course, chances are, the feeling is mutual and inviting you is just an empty gesture and they’re hoping you’ll decline.

Be that as it may, you’d feel awful if something happened to one of your husband’s parents before they got to see your kids again.

I wonder though if, by attending, you’d be obliged to attend all the other cousins’ weddings so you’re setting yourself up for years of having to attend these things or hurting someone’s feelings.

Even if that’s true, they’re grown-ups. They’ll just have to deal with it.

Hey, here’s a thought: Why not compromise and let your husband take the kids?

No never mind, then you come off as the mean, aloof bitch who’s too good for them.

But so what? Are you going to go through life trying to please other people?  Do you really care if these losers spend half the reception gossiping about you and wondering what happened to that nice Jeannie girl your husband dated in high school?

Okay, so either all of you go or none of you go. But seriously, you’re going to take the kids out of school and fly with a stopover for a weekend and then get back on the plane on Sunday morning?

That’s a small inconvenience when it comes to family; they’re flesh and blood after all even if you have some issues with them. You really should be there to help them celebrate life’s cherished milestones.

But then you’re disrupting the whole week. There’s soccer and chorus and it means taking a day off work. And the money is not trivial. All for a wedding you don’t want to go to.

Sometimes though, Debby, it’s not all about you. Life is compromise and sacrifice and people do this day in day out without a thought. Your husband is counting on you.

But if there’s tension between you and the family why go and spoil someone’s special day just for some hypocritical show of family unity.

What I’m saying is, our life is defined by our choices. Will you spend it with people you can’t stand or will you stay sheltered forever in your comfort zone? Are you finally going to look beyond your petty differences and embrace the common humanity you share with these people or are you going to set boundaries and be good to yourself for once?

I know you’ll make the right choice.

 

 

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A Christmas Truce

 

“ ’There’s a war against Christmas,” Fox News pundits roared.
The commies and Soros hate Trump and our Lord.
“It’s offensive, disgraceful!—No ifs, ands or buts.
When you say ‘Happy Holidays’ an elf’s kicked in the nuts!”
“We can’t let them win,” Shawn Hannity cries.
“Let’s make Christmas great again. Go out and buy!”

What about holidays others believe in
When Christmas lays claim to the entire season?
There’s Solstice and Kwanzaa and Hanukkah nights.
Want a holiday party? You gotta fight for your right.
We have an objection, so let me impart it:
There’s a war for the season, but we didn’t start it.

From deep in December, it’s o’erstepped its bounds—
like the Nazis through Poland—and staked out new ground.
It blitzkrieged Black Friday, and marched on Thanksgiving,
goose-stepping o’er turkeys and all of the trimmings.

This Christmastime onslaught shows no signs of stopping.
Turning Thanksgiving Day into a day to go shopping.
White meat and dark grown cold on our plates,
As we rush to the malls in fear we’ll be late.
How long will it be till we’re passing the rolls,
potatoes and stuffing, tailgating at Kohl’s?

The Vets are forgotten, but retail’s remembered
when the airwaves are jammed in early November.
With scripted enchantment amid fake swirling snows,
luxury cars sport red satin bows.

We thought that your holiday was all about peace.
So before you take Halloween, we ask that you cease.
We’re weary; not cheery. Something is wrong
Like a blockbuster movie that goes on too long!

Your internet shopping now is done in a night.
How does two weeks sound to put up the lights?
THEN Santa! THEN reindeer! THEN gay apparel.
THEN tinsel and eggnog and all of those carols.
See, Christmas is joyful when it doesn’t drag on
And then you’ve got 12 days of pipers and swans.

Give us the fall back and let’s share a toast.
Stop by for latkes; invite us for roast.
We’ll send off an email, attention North Pole:
Bring grumpy Shawn Hannity a lump of clean coal.
And we’ll hear Santa say as he rides off so jolly,
“Merry Christmas to all—and a happy Diwali!”

Traitors gonna trait

Putting the “Gee” in OMG: Davey Hansen remembered

It’s the little things you recall. Small kindnesses. Especially in this town; especially from people who could easily retreat to the solitude that fame affords. I first met Davey in the Studio City Ralph’s on Ventura. I helped him pick out a cantaloupe. It was the least I could do for a fixture of my childhood Saturday mornings.

In return, Davey befriended me and gave this Hollywood newcomer and aspiring writer some much-needed support – practical (he directed me to a shoe repair place and decent LA pizza), professional (“Don’t get an agent in the valley”) and emotional (“Writers have to be re-writers,” he’d tell me over breakfasts at Tiny Naylor’s).

Davey was always recognized but never hassled – a welcome consequence of his on-screen persona.  And while he was truly one of the nicest people I’d ever met, the cloying Christian squeaky-clean kid was just an act. “Do these people think Burgess Meredith robs banks?” he’d ask as passers-by acknowledged him with a brief, demure glance.

There were rough times for Davey and Goliath in the nineties: the short-lived CBS summer comedy hour; the Vegas show; the pair’s highly public falling-out. I was glad I could be there for him to return that support. But as he told me and a gaggle of Laker Girls one night in Ian Ziering’s jacuzzi, “Life is one crazy f***ing ride, huh?!”

The ride is over, my friend. I was glad to share part of it with you. God bless.

Davey Hansen died Monday night in his Van Nuys home of natural causes. He is survived by his longtime companion, Goliath, a clay dog.

Red, White and Blue Velvet

booth-campaign-poster

5 Mid-Season Plot Twists for the Rams: Hollywood Calls an Audible

Rams, thanks for meeting me. Been here before? They do a nice steak. Tony, we’ll take two Caesars all the way. Yes, that’s Emily Blunt. Don’t stare. Don’t… Great.

I’ll get to the point, Rams. You’re unwatchable. You barely beat Russell Wilson playing on a sprained ankle. You got humiliated by Blake Bortles playing on Blake Bortles’ ankles. You lost to the Bills at home and shamed the village in London. What are you, the Pillsbury doughboy with all the turnovers?

It’s not about being “bad.” You think Hollywood gives a rat’s tukkis if you’re bad? Bad pays for half the meals in this town. Your problem is, you play in the entertainment capital of the world and you’re un-watch-able. What story are you telling? Why should I care about the L.A. Rams? Why am I tuning in?

Here, I’ve outlined your next five episodes. Your check is all the thanks I need. It’s what I do. I make shows unboring. Remember “Family Matters” before they brought in Urkel? Exactly.

  1.  Game of Throwers. You got no intrigue this season. You’re predictable. Next game, Case Keenum will toss another pick or four and the “highly touted” Jared Goff will  take over; and you’ll finish 5 and 11. The rookie QB plot line has been done to death. But here’s a twist: Keenum plays. If he wins, great. He gets the next start. But if he loses. Ffffwwwt – off with his head! And so on. You’re raising the compete level. –Yes, on the field. Now your audience is engaged. You’ve got drama even in a blowout. Especially in a blowout. If you don’t like it; I will shop it to the Raiders.
  2.  Onside Chick. On a very special Rams football telecast, the NFL’s first female player takes the field. This single Mom’s heartwarming  story – brought to you by Tide and new Tide Pods® – will touch us all. And the fan interest in your comatose franchise? It’s up… and it’s good!
  3. The Satanic Versus. Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin is giving rival defensive backs “a hell of a time” now that he’s joined a Satanic cult! You think Colin Kaepernick caused a stir? Wait till Tavon takes it to the house pointing into the ground instead of to the sky. And when Pam Oliver interviews him, he will “give all praise and thanks to His Almighty Unholiness, Lord Lucifer.” When’s the last time you trended?
  4. L.A. Lambs. Okay, lighter note: Put the players’ kids on the sidelines during the game, and watch hijinx ensue! They’re giving Daddy high fives. They’re doing cheers. Kids eating cotton candy are toddling onto the field. Talking into the headsets, riding Big Wheels. And cranky old Coach Fisher is losing his temper. You picturing this? It’s a mad house! Hashtag: L.A.dorable! You could lose your last nine games, no one would care.
  5. Guilty Pleasure. Last but not least. In a star-driven market, who’s your star? Todd Gurley? Maybe he’ll break off a 20-yard run some time this season, maybe not. I’m saying, you have an opportunity to bring in a game changer. I’m talking special television event. Are you sitting down? I see that you are. It was rhetorical. Say this with me. “Now playing tailback for the Rams… Number thirty-two… O.J. Simpson!” Oh. Yes. You. Did. …I can make some calls. If someone’s not tuning in for this game, I don’t want to know them.

I gotta go. You run these by the coaching staff; we’ll do punch-ups during the week. Seriously, you want to be renewed for next season? Step up your game. You’re not in Kansas anymore. …Missouri. Whatever.