Dear Governor Cuomo (previously known to me as Andrew),

After months of never making a wrong move (which made me the envy of all my non New Yorker friends), why in the world did you decide to open up COVID vaccine registration to age 65 before all of the essential workers and those over 75 had been able to even make an appointment?

It almost felt like I was standing in quicksand when, after filling out the same questionnaire a zillion times, I would click “save appointment” and less than a nanosecond later the dreaded red sentence “sorry this appointment is no longer available” would pop up. Governor, please try to imagine how, I, and many of my fellow “older” New Yorkers feel after wasting long fruitless days searching every possible website in growing despair and frustration because of your decision.

Finally this past Tuesday I achieved what I was beginning to believe was the impossible dream, an appointment at the Mt Sinai satellite in Chelsea for 10:45 this morning. I was thrilled! I printed out my two confirmations, one received yesterday and one this morning, called an Uber and happily set off on a $20.00 ride downtown. After presenting my normal-temperatured and double masked self at the reception desk as ordered, I was told the Chelsea location “doesn’t give vaccines” and that even if they did the City of New York has none left!! I, of course, asked to speak to the Supervisor who, upon seeing my two confirmations was most puzzled and apologetic. She explained that after you, Governor, opened up the next category their website, in essence, had a nervous breakdown (my interpretation of her words)!

Andrew how could you do this to me (to us)? I am beyond disappointed in you and your decision, therefore, difficult as this is, I’m breaking our engagement and sending your ring back.

Below is his reply which makes me wonder which “appropriate staff member” handles his broken engagements? (note not even “Dear Florence”)

Thank you for your email. To build a stronger, better New York, we need the participation of citizens like you – sharing your ideas, comments, and concerns. Your input is invaluable to our mission to create a government that works for its people, and I appreciate you taking the time to contribute your feedback.

I want to assure you that your letter has been received and that it will be read and shared with the appropriate members of my staff.

I encourage you to visit my website, www.governor.ny.gov, where you can review my Administration’s initiatives and familiarize yourself with my office and your state government. You can also follow us on Twitter at @NYGovCuomo and Facebook at www.facebook.com/GovernorAndrewCuomo for the latest updates.

Thank you again for sharing your perspective and for joining in the effort to build a new New York.

Sincerely,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

A Message for Congress

I’m listening to the members of The House of Representatives discuss moving forward with Articles of Impeachment and shaking my head in disbelief. Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, ranking member on the House Rules Committee, opened the debate by saying the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol is “the darkest day” of his career in Congress. And then he argued that pursuing impeachment “would only further divide the country”….. “I can think of no action the House can take that is more likely to further divide the American people than the action we are contemplating today.” Is he serious?!!

I held myself back from writing about the terrifying and heartbreaking events in Washington a week ago because I saw no reason to add to the “noise”. Mr. Cole’s speech however, also the rallying cry of many of his Republican colleagues in the House, was a bridge too far. Weren’t you there in the Halls of Congress last Wednesday as an angry mob brandishing weapons stormed in causing you and your colleagues to fear for your lives? Have you not seen the video of the President emboldening the crowd saying “you will never take back our country with weakness” or watched the terrifying violence that took place on the Capitol steps immediately afterwards?

Are we so brainwashed by Trumpism that we are willing to let bygones be bygones and allow the President of the United States to incite insurrection then all join hands and sing Kumbaya?  Please explain to me Mr. Cole, when and under what circumstances it is ok for anyone, let alone the President of the United States, to encourage an angry mob to storm our Capitol, threaten to kill the Vice President and the Speaker of the House and terrorize, not only an entire branch of the Government, but the whole country?

In your opinion and those of your colleagues like Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, if we impeach Mr. Trump with only seven days to go in his term, we will further divide the American people. I say seven more days of this is much too long!

Where were you when we were warned about Donald Trump’s corruption or when we saw and heard his rallying cries to his base, not just last Wednesday, but over the past four years through not-so-subtle dog whistles?  Whose fault is it that in a few days there will not be a peaceful transfer of power and instead, thousands of troops are now on high alert, not only in Washington, but in every Capitol city around the country? How is this acceptable under any condition let alone when incited by the angry words of the head of our government who led the charge?

I fear that by doing nothing our country and the entire world, friends and foes alike, will see us tolerating the same behavior we rise up against when it occurs in other countries. How can we ever take the moral high ground again if our Representatives in Congress turn their backs on these egregious acts. Congress must vote to impeach thus sending a message that, although bruised and battered, we are still a Democracy.

Wednesday Morning Thoughts

As I sit here trying not to despair, after all, there are still mail in ballots being counted, I can’t help but wonder what happened to our Country. Saying I am deeply disappointed after thinking the enormous numbers of early voting  and mail in ballots would mean an uncontestable landslide for Joe Biden, is a colossal understatement.

 How did four years of Donald Trump make anyone want four more?

Clearly his supporters don’t care that they were voting to re-elect a pathological liar or a man who, as President Obama said, “just makes stuff up”.  They consciously chose a President who, with a wink and a nod, encourages white supremacy, cuts taxes for the wealthiest, ignores inconveniences such as the emoluments clause, continuously tries to disenfranchise those whose job it is to report the news and divides the country into red and blue states. The list goes on and on but anyone who pays attention knows the depressing list without me reiterating it here.

OK, so be it, they decided to cast their vote for a known commodity, but I fail to understand how anyone with a conscience can vote for a man who rips children from their parents arms and locks them in cages, or can support someone who encourages the industrial carnage of our precious environment or someone who, despite the science, believes that a virus, which has tragically killed more than 220,000 people in the U.S.… so far , will magically disappear by doing absolutely nothing.

If after the votes are counted (and hopefully they will be despite Trump’s demanding the counting be stopped early) and Trump prevails (heaven forbid!) I fear that four more years of being cunningly gaslighted by the Gaslighter in Chief will continue to provide cover for a painful and often cringeworthy agenda seemingly focused on personal grudges and personal gain.

I hope I can take this post down and rejoice when the final results are tabulated but for now, since this is my blog, this is what I have to say!

People, when you attend a Zoom meeting we can see you!

Not only can we see you, but we also see your name (Len that means you, next time PLEASE keep your clothes on!).

Am I the only one developing anger management issues with Zoom participants who exhibit poor or nonexistent manners or am I being too demanding? After reading about  my two latest Zoom experiences I think you will agree that someone (perhaps me?) has to be in charge of Zoom etiquette.

Before going further however I will explain the difference between a Zoom Webinar and a Zoom Meeting. This explanation should  not only prove my impressive bona fides (developed with the help of Google) but should convince everyone that I should  serve as the Zoom Etiquette Expert Extraordinaire (ZEEE).

Zoom Meetings are designed to be a collaborative event with all participants able to screen share, turn on and off their own video and audio, rename themselves (good idea for some to consider) and see who else is in attendance. When joining a meeting via Zoom you are given the option to “Open with Video” then to “Open with Audio”. When you see these options it’s your clue that you can be seen and heard by everyone.

 Zoom Webinars allow for view-only attendees and are designed so that only the host and panelists can share their video, audio and screen. Attendees cannot be seen and are muted, but do have the ability to interact via Q&A, Chat, and/or answer polling questions. Only the host can unmute someone and in webinars attendees cannot rename themselves.  You can tell its a Webinar and not a Meeting because upon logging in your options will be “Join Webinar” or “Join Webinar in Progress”.

More simply stated, a standard Zoom meeting is fully interactive and allows participants to see, speak, hear, and screen-share with each other. A Zoom webinar is a view-only platform where the attendees cannot see each other, and the Host cannot see the attendees.

As promised, I will briefly outline two of my latest, absolutely true, Zoom experiences to describe the need for a ZEEE:

At the end of a Zoom exercise class a few days ago I watched in total disbelief as Len stood up and nonchalantly began removing his clothes. After taking off his shirt and shorts he casually sat back down and continued to watch the Q & A session. Fortunately, while I was praying he wasn’t going to take us into the shower with him, the moderator noticed (hard to miss) and turned off his video. I sincerely hope someone will contact him in the near future and explain how zoom works!

It’s impossible for me to believe, but if after reading about Len you’re thinking to yourself “yes, she is much too demanding” or  “we don’t need a ZEEE” please read on….

The day after the Len episode I attended another Zoom meeting, this one was a lecture presented by one of my favorite speakers. About ten minutes into the session one of the audience members (I’ll call her Stella), who was attending the meeting on her cell, turned her cell view around to look at herself. For some strange reason, when she did this it overrode the Speaker View which meant that the 40 or so attendees were now looking at  Stella looking at herself. I assume she had no clue this was happening and because the speaker didn’t stop her, for the next two hours Stella’s face would suddenly pop up and take over the screen, then just as suddenly disappear. After a while, instead of paying attention to the lecture, I found myself anxiously waiting for the next Stella sighting (and let me assure you Stella did not disappoint!). For almost two hours she would unexpectedly appear and be ambling around her apartment, combing her hair, ever so slooowly applying lipstick, until finally at the end we watched her sit and stare into space.

In retrospect someone (me) should have sent a private message to the speaker and asked her to  turn off Stella’s video….. next time (and I’m sure there will be a next time!) in my role as self appointed ZEEE, I definitely will.

Furthermore, as your ZEEE I implore you, when participating in a Zoom Meeting, to behave as if you were in the theater (sigh), at the ballet or movies or attending an in-person event (even bigger sigh). In case it’s hard to remember that far back, fear not, the ZEEE is here to help with a few easy  tips (feel free to email me any additional suggestions, although I can’t imagine what they could possibly be). Here goes……

  1. Do not attend a Zoom Meeting on your cell phone! If you have no other options do not turn the camera around to look at yourself.
  2. When attending a Zoom Meeting, always dress appropriately, at least the part we can see. E.g. a few months ago I attended a large zoom meeting with a woman who was wearing a see-through nightgown!
  3. Keep in mind that although you might be using Speaker View, everyone at the meeting who chooses Gallery View can see you.  Walking around the room, rocking in your rocking chair, blowing your nose, knitting, eating, talking on your cell phone, or applying makeup are no no’s
  4. And perhaps arguably the most important one, PLEASE keep your clothes on!!