Sunday, February 22, 2015

Patricia Arquette - A New Appreciation

I watched "Boyhood? and really enjoyed the movie.  It is a sweet story about a boy growing up in a household after his parent's divorce. Patricia Arquette  was very good as the boy's mom, but I have never really thought much about her.  I knew she has won a lot of awards for her performance and I think her acceptance speeches have been just fine, until tonight.

Watching the Academy Awards, Arquette predictably won the Oscar for best supporting actress.   She got up to give her speech, like she did at the other awards ceremonies.  As she got to the end of the obligatory thank you's, her words began to come more rapidly.  This is not what I had seen before.  In a hurried fashion, trying to get the words out before the orchestra started playing, she raised her Oscar and declared, "We need to make sure that women are paid equally."  She went on about pay inequity and and the struggles of female workers.  Meryl Streep and other women in the crowd started clapping their hands over their heads.  It was so cool.

When the movie "The Interview" was protested by North Korea, and the Sony emails were leaked, some interesting facts came out.  In "American Hustle." Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.  Why?  There was no explanation, but women actors typically are paid less than men, even when women such as Lawrence and Adams are major audience draws.

Our society pays women less than men, and women of color are paid considerably less than men of any color, but especially white men.  Gender pay inequity is so ingrained in our society that it goes unquestioned.  There is excuse after excuse, but the fact remains, women are paid less than men. Single mothers are oftentimes hard-pressed to pay their bills.  I grew up in a household where my parents were divorced,. My very intelligent mother worked hard, but we hardly got by and my grandparents helped subsidize our living expenses.  We could not live on my mother's wages.  There is no good reason that men should be paid more than women.  It has been 50 years since the the Equal Pay Act was passed outlawing pay discrimination, but women still make $.76 for every $1.00 a man makes, on average.

It was so unexpected and wonderful to hear Patricia Arquette.  It's about time that women are valued monetarily, where it counts in our society.  Good for Arquette!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Throwing Like A Girl

You know when movies show soldiers in war and the Sergeant comes up and calls them to attention, and calls the men to attention by saying, "Ladies, are you going to fight or run?" or some such nonsense after calling the guys "ladies."  Well, folks, calling men "ladies" is no insult.  Calling anyone "ladies" is a downright compliment.

I represent both women and men and I have met some pretty amazing people of both genders.  Some of my male clients have demonstrated amazing courage, but no less than some of my female clients.  In today's day and age, women fight in wars, play baseball, drive race cars, climb mountains, become neurosurgeons, write computer programs, and fight fires.  Men bake cakes, drive the kids to school, type, clean houses and grocery shop.

When I grow up I want to be Mo'Ne Davis.  She throws like a girl.

Monday, February 9, 2015


When I was a teenager, my family did not have a lot of money to send me to college.    Even though I had decent grades in high school, with little effort or extra-curricular activities, I need to stay home and help my brother and mother get by.  A single mother back then, my mother, could not raise a family on a secretary's salary.  My mother was, and is, smart and she worked hard, but she just couldn't stretch the pittance she was paid.  My dad was not sending child support and I suspect that he could not, with another son and wife in the mix.  So, I feared it was up to me to get through college.

When I went to my guidance counselor at Southwest High School, she asked me to which schools I applied and I told her UMKC.  "Oh, your grades reflect that you can go away to a better school than that."  I explained, I could not. I was helping my mom pay bills and the easiest way to be able to pay bills was to work in Kansas City while in school.  Of course, my decision was made more palatable by my then boyfriend, now husband, living in the area and also attending UMKC.

When I got ready to apply for school, I applied for financial aid.  In addition to the application for scholarships (I got one which I lost after the fun first year), I applied for somethings I had never heard of before - a Pell Grant and work-study.   I did not know these programs were need-based, what many would call "welfare."  I got that aid, and worked in various departments for work-study, Speech and Hearing Science and English and Biology.  I liked those jobs and learned things there , doing clerical work, that I would not have known otherwise.  Plus, I developed a strong work ethic.

The Pell Grant sure came in handy!  I do not know how I would have got through undergraduate studies with out those funds.  When I married after my junior year, I no longer qualified because of my husband's family's assets and income.  By then, I did not need the money.  My husband worked, and he helped with my last year of undergrad and he and my grandmother, along with my work, were able to help me through law school five years later.

I am sure grateful for the government assistant, welfare, if you will, that I received that helped me to get an education.   I hear some people say that a college education was not worth the price.  I sure got many times more than the assistance was worth.  Up until college, I could type.  Typing was my only real skill.  I could have worked as an administrative professional my whole life, but,  to be brutally truthful, I was not that great of a secretary.  I worked hard, but I was not a perfectionist.  I hated to proofread and I loathed correcting errors not only on the cover letter, but also on copies with "white-out."  Plus, my hand-eye coordination is not that great and I do not type fast and make lots of mistakes.  I am much more suited to be a lawyer.  I feel I have been a productive citizen and the investment this country made in me was a good one.

Now, instead of increasing aid to students, some states like Kansas, want to cut aid.  People balk at President Obama's plan for more educational assistance. I guess if I had been born thirty years later, I would be somebody's horrible secretary messing up letters and would be burned out.

It seems to me that we can set up a system for free college education at some public colleges, just a s we do for secondary education.  In a few short years,  manual jobs won't exist and technical will continue to be more intense.  Don't we owe the people of the future the opportunities to succeed and to make this world succeed.  We are all part of this great big marble.  We need to start acting like it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Ten Suggestions For Living A Good Life

1.  Give more than you take and give with no expectations.

2.   Be persistent and tenacious.  Nothing worthwhile is easy.  Don't take the easiest way, challenge yourself even when you are scared.

3.   Laugh every day and make others laugh every day. 

4.   Surround yourself with bright colors.

5.   Listen to music you love every day, and sing even if you are tone deaf.

6.   Become serene, breathe deeply, and be outdoors.

8.   Stay curious and read a lot and continue to learn, grow and accept change.

9.   Realize that forgiveness sets you free.

10.  Surround yourself with people you love and love children and dogs.