Living in Paradise

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Not the Greatest Film Ever

It’s 11 p.m. and I just finished watching the greatest movie of all time. Or so it was pegged recently by the British film magazine Sight & Sound.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) is the name of the film. Don’t even think about watching it, unless you are addicted to emotional and mental pain.

My man insisted we check it out. After all, he pointed out, it had displaced Vertigo as the greatest movie of all time. Vertigo is a great Alfred Hitchcock movie. The greatest? I’m not so sure. But it was a million times more entertaining than poor Jeanne Dielman.

I can’t recall ever seeing something so unenjoyable. Watching paint dry is definitely more fun. Maybe that was the point of the film about a Belgian woman’s struggles with identify and self-liberation as both a prostitute and a mother.

About an hour into this evening of torture, my man asked the pivotal question: “When is something going to happen?”

“I think this movie is about this woman’s mundane life,” I responded. “I think she is slowly going mad. Just as I am watching it.”

At hour two, my man looked at me again. “Didn’t you say something would happen in this movie?”

“I didn’t say anything. The blurb said on day three of this woman’s life, there is an event. We are only on day two,” I responded.

When hour three dawned, my man yawned loudly and hinted that he might be going to bed.

“Don’t even think about it,” I said. “You forced me to watch this and you’re staying ‘til the bitter end.”

The end was definitely bitter as anyone who struggled through this movie could have predicted. It wasn’t what I would call a “twist.” I know real shockers. I’ve just finished reading The Silent Patient.

Never have I wanted to scream in a non-horror film like I wanted to at this movie: “Get on with it!”

We watched the poor woman kneading raw hamburger into a meatloaf for five minutes. Another five watching her peel potatoes. A good six minutes struggling to make it through the scene where she and her son ate bowls of soup without uttering a word to each other. Then we focused on her back while she washed the dinner and breakfast dishes. We saw that twice! A bath scene lasted at least eight minutes and included several minutes of her washing the tub. We saw the bath once but the tub cleaning twice. And on and on.

Since the greatest film ever is only chosen every 10 years, I suppose the magazine felt it had to do something to acknowledge womankind. So, this was the first firm directed by a woman to ever make it into the top 10, let alone garner the top spot.

I think they could have done better. Surely there have been more entertaining films directed by women in the history of movie making. Lives of quiet desperation might be impactful on those who live them. It’s just not something I – and I guess most other film lovers – want to endure.

Tomorrow I’m picking the film. Maybe Rear Window.

Stand John, Stand

Someone recently snapped a photo of rocker John Mellencamp at a Colts football game in Indianapolis. While everyone else stood during the Star-Spangled Banner, he remained seated, eating popcorn.

According to reports, this isn’t the first time he’s chosen to ignore or take a knee during the playing of our country’s national anthem.

At his advanced age, he may have difficulty rising. I have lots of friends who have trouble getting out of chairs. By the time they are on their feet, everyone else around them is seated or has moved on. Maybe that’s John’s problem.

I noticed at the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame Awards ceremony, where he sang with Bruce Springsteen in a tribute to the late rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, Mellencamp had a scarf around his throat. Maybe he was trying to hide a “turkey neck” that often comes with advanced years.

Another sign that John is getting along – and maybe didn’t have the energy to stand – is his 2023 touring schedule. A quick glance shows there are a lot of venues in Florida and two nights in Vegas. Sooner or later every old and slightly over-the-hill musician ends up in Vegas and/or Sarasota.

In all fairness, it does look like a rigorous schedule that will take him all around the country. We’ll see how well he holds up.

Mellencamp has always been outspoken both in and out of music. And I agree with a lot of his causes and complaints. But why has he been able to say exactly what he thinks and still make music? It’s because he lives in America. “Land of the free.” His words.

I say he owes some respect to the country that lets him decide whether he wants to stand or sit, speak or be silent, sing or protest without fear of reprisal.

Give Me a Head of Hair

Sometimes I wonder how I miss things. I refer to the comment that Michelle Obama made about her hair in a recent interview to promote her newest book. She said that Americans “weren’t ready” for her natural hair during President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.

Really? Maybe I’m naïve, but I find that hard to believe. Other than some commentary about her “guns” – her well-toned arms shown off in short sleeve dresses – I don’t recall anyone suggesting that the First Lady shouldn’t wear her hair however she wanted. Or remarking on her hair at all.

In fact, Mrs. Obama appeared on the cover of Vogue three times within seven years and, as I recall, was thought of as a fashion icon during her husband’s term in office. I remember seeing a lot of press about this dress and that. All complimentary.

She had her photo taken by Annie Leibovitz, which is no small accomplishment. (My favorite Annie photo is the one she took of Sting, the singer, au natural, in the desert. But I digress.) People Magazine even wrote of the Versace gown she wore to her final state dinner “to much acclaim.”

I think Mrs. Obama had the kind of stature that would have allowed her to do whatever she wanted with her hair. I’m sorry that she didn’t feel comfortable in braids or an Afro if that’s what she desired. I know I wouldn’t have objected. Nor would any of my friends.

I guess that’s because braids and afros were part of our world long before Mrs. Obama came on the scene.

Bo Derek made Fulani cornrows popular in 1979 in the movie 10. Everyone, including me wanted to wear our hair in those kinds of braids. And some did. Although we never looked as good as Bo.

We all wanted afros when the musical Hair became wildly popular. I read recently that Hair put the counterculture of the 1960s on stage with its “bisexuality, interracial relationships and the rejection of monogamy in front of audiences who had previously been protected from such taboo subjects.” Those were the days. Wait. Those are our days now.

Today, my senior citizen friends and I would be criticized (and rightfully laughed at) if we had cornrows or attempted to wear something like an afro. My larger point is that gone are the days when imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. Now trying to look like someone who is different is considered cultural appropriation.

I don’t want to criticize the former First Lady, but it feels presumptuous of her to assume that we gave her natural hair a second thought or would have been opposed to her showing it off. It makes us sound petty and insensitive and other things that don’t apply to most of the people I know.

What was her point? Mine is that it’s time to stop making negative assumptions about each other and move forward.

The Clean Freaks

My condo neighbor, the clean car freak, is at it again. While I’m spreading mayonnaise on my chicken sandwich, I can see him slathering soap on the hood of his late model Audi from my kitchen window.

I swear it’s a once-a-week ritual for him to clean his own car. But he also offers his detailing services to other neighbors. It’s not unusual for me to come home and find him and a fellow washer wielding polish and rags with military precision.

I always take the opportunity to comment when I see them in action, leaving big puddles of water in our driveway.

“At it again, eh, men? When are you opening your car wash business?”

They give me a tolerable smile as they continue their male bonding ritual. I go on my way mentally shaking my head. There are no offers to run a cloth over my hood.

The truth is that my neighbor’s compulsive behavior wouldn’t bother me all that much if I wasn’t so obsessed with keeping the garage floor clean.

When we moved in last summer the floor was newly painted – thanks to my neighbor, who is only here during the winter months. And it stayed pristine until Hurricane Ian struck and deposited large amounts of mulch and other debris in the garage. It took my man and I five days and plenty of sweat equity to clean the floor and get rid of the smell.

While we were scrubbing the floor, someone arrived and took my neighbor’s car, which he leaves behind for the summer. When the car was returned hours later, it was sparkling clean. That was an eye-rolling moment.

For about four weeks, the garage remained spotless primarily because we were the only residents of the building that houses three other seasonal families. I was still wondering why no one cared enough to check on their condos after the hurricane when my neighbor, the car guy, returned.

He remarked to his wife that the “garage floor doesn’t look all that bad.” She told me about his comment to which I replied: “It’s because we spent a week cleaning it … by ourselves.”

“Oh,” was her response.

The garage remained amazing until my neighbor began his clean car ritual again and the home watch person for another residence in our building showed up and drove through the leftover puddles. When she departed, she left behind dirty tire tracks and debris. A short while later, my man returned from the grocery store and made a similar deposit on our part of the garage floor. The clean car freak also brought in more dirt when he moved his clean vehicle into the garage.

Unable to face the debacle, I ate ice cream.

When I think about the state of the world and the daily tragedies of life … as I ponder when the county will remove the mountains of hurricane trash from our streets … when I realize that so many people have lost so much in the recent storms that hit Florida, and we  had no issues except for the plague of red tide that has descended on our area … I am riddled with guilt at my pettiness.

But that’s how it goes. It’s not the big things, but the little ones that often bring you down.

A bright spot is that my neighbors will be going home for the holidays. For at least a month or so I will be able to enjoy clean garage floors again. Or learn during that period to stop caring.

Happy Election Day

Forget early voting and mail-in ballots, there’s nothing like voting in person on Election Day.

I voted for the first time today in a new location. In my old polling place, on the little island that was ravaged by Hurricane Ian, it would take five minutes to vote and 50 minutes to catch up with my neighbors. When we sold our house and moved off-island, I knew I would miss this friendly tradition.

In my new voting location, the American Legion Post in a place called Rotunda, I didn’t know a soul. But the mood was convivial. Everyone was happy to be there, casting their ballots and exchanging pleasantries with strangers.

Reality often flies in the face of media reports, and the spirit of Election Day was a good example of that.

The folks behind me were chatting about how there were more people in line than the last election. Everyone seemed to have smiles on their faces. The mood was light and almost festive. A poll worker sweetly told a little girl, maybe 4, she could vote if she could produce a driver’s license. The little girl giggled and so did everyone standing within earshot.

There was no apparent civil war going on. And I’m sure there were many people from both parties in line with me.

I remained perplexed about all the state constitutional amendments up for vote this year – and didn’t understand most of them. I slogged my way through the descriptions, which obviously were written by attorneys to confuse. Anyway, I voted against gambling in Charlotte County for my own protection and for giving more homestead tax benefits to first responders. At least that’s how I read those sections.

I left the Legion feeling good about myself and my country.

There’s something so American about voting in person. Maybe it’s because it takes me back to the 1950s when my parents and their extended family were heavily involved in county politics in Indiana. Election Day was always a big deal.

I remember my Dad taking me to the courthouse and introducing me to someone named Alan. “He’s not a bad fellow for a Democrat,” my Dad said. Right in front of the man’s face. And they both laughed.

Imagine that happening today. I think it’s possible and from what I saw today, probable.

The Omnipresent Camp Lejeune Attorneys

The verdict is in. My award for the most annoying pursuit of the almighty dollar goes to the Camp Lejeune attorneys. They have officially become more disturbing than the My Pillow guy who at least has a product to sell.

Surely the Camp Lejeune advertisements have reached everyone who has cable or Internet the nine times required for the message to sink in. I stopped counting at 200.

The poor people who drank bad water at Camp Lejeune at Jacksonville, North Carolina, at Flint, Michigan, and more recently at Jackson, Mississippi, deserve our sympathy and compensation. Providing clean, drinkable water should be a high priority for community and governmental leaders. When it isn’t, someone needs to pay for the consequences.

Until now, veterans who lived at Camp Lejeune could not take any legal action against the government because of North Carolina’s laws. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 supersedes state laws and opens the door for service members and others to file claims. Sometimes lawyers must step into the fray to get good things done, which is apparently what they did in this case with Congress. Kudos to that group.

You could even say it was admirable of them. But, still, if there wasn’t plenty in it for them, it feels like firms wouldn’t be spending hundreds of thousands advertising for clients. John Grisham taught us about some legal motives in his book, The King of Torts.

When a plumber showed up at our house the other day with a USMC hat on, I asked his opinion on the Camp Lejeune water contamination, which, shamefully, lasted more than 30 years from 1953-1987.

“The lawyers get 20 percent off the top,” were the first words out of his mouth. I’m not the only skeptic, I thought.

I didn’t know if his figure was correct. Based on the number of advertisements I see on TV each night and even in my email, I assumed it was more. A quick search on the Internet indicated it was 25 percent but could go as high as 40 percent.

The plumber was quick to point out that he wasn’t affected by the water quality problems. However, he did serve in Desert Storm and worked near the notorious “burn pits.” Imagine what it must be like having a medical time bomb lurking in your body from non-combat actions you undertook while following orders.

Apparently, any issues he has in the future will also be covered by provisions of the Camp Lejeune Act, which is good for him – and for the lawyers.

The Camp Lejeune scenario takes me back to the early 1990s and my days as a reporter. I was covering the Indiana Supreme Court when they ruled on a lawsuit involving a refund to customers of the state’s largest utility. The refund of $120 million (sounds like peanuts today) had to do with the bailout of a failed nuclear power plant.

The group that pursued the refund – a credit to customers’ bills – was a consumer activist organization that was always fighting utilities. They portrayed themselves as they good guys and perhaps they were in some ways.

But what was appalling to me in the court’s order was that the activist group’s attorneys got the $15 million they sought for pursuing the refund. And, I discovered, had no plans to pass on any portion of that payout onto the customers they were supposed to be representing. I was later told it was considered the attorney’s “retirement fund.”

While the utility case didn’t have the personal impact of the bad drinking water cases, it serves as a reminder that there is always someone out there eager to benefit from the misfortune of others.

Ranking the Grandkids

I’d like to apologize to my late grandmothers, Mame and Rula, for ignoring them in the last years of their lives.

I did go to see Mame in a nursing home shortly after my marriage to my first husband. Rula passed away before I could say goodbye. I still miss them. But I was not an attentive granddaughter once I turned 18 and headed off to college. And I still regret it.

In my defense, we didn’t have cell phones or the ability to text. I went four months without talking to my parents when they were in California one winter and I was in my early 20s. Long-distance calls were expensive, and it seems they weren’t all that interested in talking to me either.

Now we have plenty of ways of reaching out, and, still, only one of my four grandchildren does with any regularity. Maybe once a month.

I know they lead busy lives. Have lots on their minds. I get it. Sixty years after the fact, I’m getting a little payback for being so self-focused. Their time will come.

Even so, I was surprised not to hear from any of them when my man and I were going through the fifth worst hurricane in the history of the United States. It’s not like we were in the middle of it. We wisely evacuated to the east coast two days before it struck. But it was scary and unsettling. And when we returned there was immense devastation.

It would have been nice to get a text saying: “Oh, wow, glad you are safe.” Or “Hope you guys are okay. Did you have any damage?”

I know they can text because they always respond when I ask them what they want for their birthdays or Christmas.

The only child that suffered through the storm with us was my daughter who insisted we were hiding something awful to protect her.

“Seriously, the places around us we love were destroyed, but we are okay. Please don’t worry,” I texted her. Without good cell coverage and no Internet that was the best I could do. But I definitely appreciated her concern.

I’m sure she and my youngest son passed that information on to their children, which is why my grandchildren didn’t worry or feel the need to inquire. Right?

Knowing my situation and hearing similar tales from my friends about their families, I had a good laugh when I saw a story on the newsfeed today about a grandmother who ranks her ten grandchildren. They move up and down on the list depending on their actions – and apparently the number of tattoos they have on their bodies.

I wouldn’t dare be that blatant. But I do keep a mental score on who says thank you or responds immediately to my texts. And who seems glad to see me – or at least acts like it – when we get together on rare occasions. When it comes to Christmas and birthdays, their gifts reflect their good deeds or lack of them. With me, communication counts.

I don’t see myself as being mean or spiteful. I’m just trying to save my grandchildren from their future karma.

Hateful Rhetoric Thrives

A friend of mine who hates Governor DeSantis – even though he doesn’t live in Florida – had some unkind words about the move of 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Facebook.

I tried to let it go and ended up posting a TIF of a giraffe chewing. It wasn’t the response I wanted to make. I wanted to talk about the drug lords and cartels and people suffering to get to the land of opportunity. But the giraffe seemed to be the least offensive of my options.

There was no deterring my friend from his mission. His response to my giraffe was:

“Chew on it and see what he does for you. Oh, I forgot you have money, you’re past child bearing age and are not a woman of color? Why would you care?”

So that’s how you talk to your longtime friends these days? Nuclear response. No hesitation. Let it rip. When people say we are already involved in a civil war, that’s what they mean.

I fired off a round in Messenger and let him have it. That’s how skirmishes begin.

I said: What did he know about me and my ability to bear children? Where was he when I was earning 50 cents an hour and saving every penny to help my parents pay for college … working two jobs to make my house payments and then being paid a pittance for working 60 hours a week as a reporter? And as to skin color … I’m stuck with what I’m born with, but back in the sixties and seventies being a career woman – no matter what the color – was an uphill battle on many fronts. I gladly fought them and didn’t complain. Then I went to work in corporate America and still had hills to climb.

He, on the other hand, worked most of his life for the same company that also gave his two sons and ex-wife a job after he retired. He lives in a nice house with his dog; I assume the house and the dog are paid for. I’m not sure how he passes the time, but I spend part of my year raising money for local charities.

I said all of that and felt better afterward. For at least fifteen minutes.

Then I thought about it and wrote a second note that said to forget it. I told him that as far as I was concerned, we are still friends and I’m not letting the divide and conquer mentality that rules our country today ruin our friendship.

He responded quickly saying I had mis-read his comments … that they were directed at the governor. And that we would be friends forever despite our politics. Okay. I believe him. All is well.

But the episode reminded me that many in this country – and I’m not excluding myself – enjoy “hating” every now and then. We hate this and that. We complain about others without ever looking in the mirror or trying to understand their point of view.

When Queen Elizabeth died there were many outpourings of sympathy for a woman who devoted almost her entire life to serving her country. Sure, her country has done some things in the past for which criticism is justly deserved. What country hasn’t? But here was a woman who conducted herself with dignity – a woman who would never have said the things that some of today’s world leaders, celebrities and ordinary citizens feel they have license to say without filters.

And then there were the haters. Like the college professor who tweeted that she hoped the queen died a horrible death because of what her country did to the people of Nigeria. After reading about what has happened to Nigeria since 1960 when Britain gave the country its independence, I’m thinking this woman will be wishing painful deaths on a lot of people.

Not sure any of that is on the late queen.

The professor had her reasons. Maybe she could have expressed them to her friends, instead, and saved herself from exposure to fifteen minutes of “infamy.”

The predominance of hate speech is staggering. It starts in politics with both parties and then filters down to our friends and families. It needs to end with us. I’m taking the pledge.

As my Dad, the fisherman, used to say: “I won’t be rising to the [hate] bait anymore.”

Bernie’s Hypocrisy

U. S. Senator Bernie Sanders – millionaire, socialist and hypocrite – was on his high horse this past week in a column he wrote for The Guardian, the left-leaning British newspaper. The man who reportedly owns three houses was complaining about income and wealth inequality, his favorite topic.

“While the working class falls further behind, multibillionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are off taking joyrides on rocket ships to outer space, buying $500 million super-yachts and living in mansions with 25 bathrooms,” he wrote.

Bernie was in London on Wednesday to join striking British workers at a trade union rally to deliver the same old message: greed is bad, billionaires are worse. We aren’t sure if he shared the number of bathrooms he has in his many residences, but his speech is a familiar one.

And, by the way, who paid for that junket?

Yes, there are people in this wealthy country of ours who wonder where their next meal is coming from. And my heart – and sometimes my pocketbook – goes out to them. Still, a part of me wonders how many have responded to the thousands of “help wanted” signs that have sprung up around the country? And how many have been sitting home since the pandemic waiting for another government handout?

If things are so bad here, why are thousands of people entering the U. S. illegally each day to seek a better life?

Bernie also pointed out that the U. S. has “the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any developed nation on Earth.” You would think the U. S. Congress has the power to do something about that. If they can direct money to “pork” that help keeps them in office, they can help starving families bring home the bacon.

Congress must tread lightly, however, to avoid turning our country into a place where everyone expects to be taken care of by others. If feels like Bernie would love that — if he could figure out who the “others” are after all the wealth in the U. S. has been redistributed.

I don’t care that Jeff Bezos is worth $154 billion. I do care that he gave away $10 billion in 2020 to support nonprofits involved in the climate crises. I also care that Amazon employs 1.6 million people around the world, bringing in 500,000 workers in 2020. And that the average Amazon salary is $64,805, compared to the $15 an hour campaign workers received when they worked for Bernie back in 2019.

How many jobs has Bernie created? Since he’s been on the public dole since 1981, it feels like he knows little about the kind of innovation and hard work it takes to be financially successful.

I also assume that Bernie cares that Amazon contributed $781,837 to his 2020 political campaign, along with nearly a million coming from Alphabet, $480,00 from Apple and so forth.

If you want to make things right, Bernie, you can do more than grouse about it. You can start by telling members of Congress to start working 40 to 60-hour weeks like a lot of us have done during our careers. House members average 146.7 working days a year and bring in a salary of $174,000 – plus per diem, health insurance and retirement benefits. The Senate manages to report to work 165 days out of the year. My adult kids would love those kinds of jobs.

Instead of trying to get rid of their political opponents, Congress needs to start doing something good on behalf of the people who pay their salaries. It’s time for these people to set a good example.

Bernie started his column by saying, “The most important economic and political issues facing this county are the extraordinary levels of income and wealth inequality, the rapidly growing concentration of ownership, the long-term decline of the American middle class and the evolution of this country into oligarchy.” He also urged the reader to “fight back against a corrupt political system.”

A good start would be to make this old Bernie’s last term in office.

Exploiting the P-Word

The Wall Street Journal’s Fall Fashion Issue was irritating this morning on so many levels.

We get the newspaper free in the elevator because our octogenarian neighbor did not cancel his subscription when he went north for the summer. We reported this oversight to the condo management twice. They called him, and he took no action. So now my man gets to read the Journal without paying for it.

Today it seemed highly appropriate that it cost us nothing.

Fashion issues have always been filled with pictures of women in clothes that no normal person would be inclined to wear. Especially in our part of Florida where the standard attire is bathing suits, white shorts and casual tops. Except for the occasional chilly day in January when you need to throw on a sweater.

But, shame on me, I did flip through it for a good laugh as much as anything. In the end, I wasn’t amused.

The Journal’s magazine featured the recycled 70s vibe from Chanel. The who-would-be-caught-dead rugby look from Louis Vuitton. The laughable strapless evening dress with oversized green leather bag and combat boots from Alexander McQueen. The Obi Wan full-body camel-colored outfit with giant back-breaking purse by Michael Kors. And so much more. Dare I call it a waste of good fabric?

If they want to publish a magazine that is solely advertisements, that’s okay. I can flip through it in five minutes, recognize that it has no bearing to my life and then pitch it. It’s when they try to sandwich in “meaningful” articles that they often get in trouble.

We children of the 60s and 70s all remember Playboy Magazine and its so-called literary contributions. Nobody bought the girlie publication for its articles by Kurt Vonnegut and James Baldwin. No one, no matter what they wanted us to believe.

Having said that, today I did stop flipping through the ads when I came to the article on Page 124 – A New Side of Zoe Kravitz. I stopped because the subhead referred to her “provocative” directorial debut in a new movie named Pussy Island. Really? The P-word and the C-word have never been acceptable to me. I find their use particularly troubling in today’s world. If people can get exercised about someone using the wrong pronoun, then these derogatory phrases about women should send all of us over the edge.

In no form are they right or acceptable. That includes art and music.

Ms. Kravitz told WSJ writer Hunter Harris that the script for this movie “was born out of a lot of anger and frustration around the lack of conversation about the treatment of women, specifically in industries that have a lot of money in them, like Hollywood, the tech word, all of that.”

Where has this woman been? Apparently, Ms. Kravitz started the script about five years ago and before the #MeToo movement after hearing stories about powerful men inviting women to remote island for hazy hedonist free-for-alls. Sorry to tell her that the ship to the remote island with orgies has already left the station with Jeffrey Epstein at the helm.

Apparently, the fact that her personal enlightenment is somewhat old news hasn’t deterred Ms. Kravitz’s enthusiasm for promoting the hackneyed story of a cocktail waitress who accepts an invitation to be whisked away to a tech mogul’s private island – and all of its tired implications that only a woman who is a cocktail waitress would be so stupid as to accept the offer, etc., ad nauseum.

“To sell the movie to MGM, Kravitz directed a sizzle reel with original and found footage to capture the tone she wanted: dark, funny, sexy, frightening,” Harris wrote.

What’s frightening is that some rising young movie star would want to exploit the abuse of women and package it as some cutting-edge revelation under a title that every female and male should find offensive. And, apparently, fill the movie with a lot of titillating scenes to make her point.

Why didn’t some enlightened Hollywood big wig take Ms. Kravitz under her wing and encourage her to work on something more meaningful. Like a movie about the fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, who else was involved and why they’ve been shielded from public scrutiny. They would have been doing her a big favor

Please, dear WSJ, don’t waste paper and the energy it takes to print those supplements unless they are about something that is relevant to all our lives. And the next time, may I have the good sense to throw it into the recycling bin before wasting part of my morning on it.