Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Celebrity Obsession

This may not be Manilow related, although on some level I think it is. When did our society become so obsessed with celebrities. It's like the world revolves around their comings and goings: Entertainment Tonight, TMZ and so many celebrity reality shows have turned celebrities into role models. If a celebrity does it, it must be good. If a celebrity speaks out against something they must know what they are talking about. And if a celebrity has an illness, their struggle becomes all the media talks about.

Take Barry's afib for example. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people have afib, but when Barry began talking about it, you can't even imagine the number of people that started posting about how they had it too. Before he came out and became a spokesperson, it wasn't a fashionable ailment to have. Barry dealt with it so it must be talked about.

What prompted this revelation? Angelina Jolie's announcement today that she had the BRCA gene and she had a double mastectomy because of it. Women all over the world have been tested and diagnosed with that gene, there is an organization called FORCE that educates women about it, and doctors over the last ten years have been recommending the test if their patients have a history of breast cancer in their family. But until Angelina announced her "decision" the media rarely covered it. Now, women all over social media are saying they want the test. But here's the deal--if you don't have a history of breast cancer in your family (and I mean a strong history), testing is not necessary or even recommended. How do I know? I'm one of those women, as is my daughter. News flash--it's not about the press coverage you get because of it; it's about a very difficult decision once your know you have the gene; and about what it does to you and to your family.

Recently, Julianna from E TV came public about her mastectomy and made the news because a/ she was a celebrity and b/ she had a reality television show. Women all over the world have dealt with that decision and because a celebrity had to go through it the whole world watched and listened. And not only that, but they had to compare her plight with everyone elses, especially those who were having or had a mastectomy. "Julianna was such a trooper." "Julianna went back to work quickly after hers." "Julianna was so brave." 

What can I say? It just bugs me. Partly because me and my family have faced those same decisions and we kept it within our family. It was a personal struggle and  although we are willing to talk about it, it didn't become a media event. Since Angelina came out about hers, it's fashionable to have the BRCA gene and a prophylactic mastectomy. And I'm sure doctors all over the world will be hearing these words, "Angelina Jolie said I should get the BRCA test."

Disgusted with celebrity obsessions,
Texas Fan

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The memories of music

Yesterday when I was walking I had my iPod on shuffle and a Manilow song came on. It's one I listen to often because it reminds me of a wonderful memory--Forever and a Day. In a much simpler time with the best of friends while up close and personal he sang that song. I have pictures of the dance that night--it was Fran. When I hear that song my heart breaks thinking about how much I miss her and how I can't believe she is gone, and while the memory is sad it also reminds to tell everyone in my life how much they are loved.

But not all memories are sad ones. When I hear, See the Show Again, I think back to that very first Las Vegas show when Barry walked up to me and asked me to help him with his jacket. I was shocked and totally surprised. I had no idea this was a regular occurrence. It was my 50th birthday and an absolutely wonderful memory.

Many of them put a huge smile on face. Like, for instance, Islands in the Stream. The week of shows that he debuted that song were some of the best of time in Vegas. My Aussie friend was there and we stayed up all night and shopped all day. Then there were songs that played while my friends were blessed to dance with him, It's Not for Me to Say and Moonlight Serenade. Both those nights gave me great joy watching the expressions on my friends faces while they were dancing AND being able to capture it all in pictures..

Then there was the Atlantic City concert. The first show after Barry's hip surgery. I flew to Philadelphia alone and took the train to Atlantic City. That night was magical and I bought his Greatest Songs of the 60's cd and listened to it on the train to Boston. Every time I hear You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling it reminds me of those many years I spent going back and forth to Boston.

There were firsts: the first time I heard I Am Your Child live, the first time I heard the music of Harmony, and the first time I heard him sing Sandra and Talk to Me at the Hilton. And of course, the first time I saw him perform songs Here at the Mayflower at my very first concert in San Antonio.

One song that makes me grin from ear to ear is Can't Smile Without You. It is my daughter's song. I sang it to her when she was growing up, she sings it to E. When we saw Barry in Dallas, as always, he sang that song. It was again a very special moment.

And finally, Here's to Las Vegas. That song brings back memories of the best of times and of the last show I saw at the Paris with my daughter. That songs evokes the happiest of times and reminds me that those years brought into my life new friendships; some are still thriving and others have since moved on. But while we were whooping it up in Vegas we definitely had THE BEST OF TIMES.

I'm sure everyone has their own list. Songs that evoke happy memories and even sad ones. But we will always have the memories, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

To the memories of the music,
Texas Fan

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