Liz Smith: Who’s to Blame for the East Coast Earthquake? One Guess — It’s NOT Mother Nature


And more from our Liz: Cher the movie maven on TCM … the very dark side of Martha’s Vineyard … Oprah grills Ralph Lauren

“THE TALMUD states, ‘You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn’t belong. I too, will shake the earth!’”

That’s New York Rabbi Yehuda Levin. He says the little earthquake that rumbled along the East Coast was …because of the gays.

Oh, and here I thought the first one to be blamed would be Barack Obama. Although I am sure Perry, Bachmann and others have been holding meetings trying to somehow pin nature’s vagaries on the president. I also figured those who approve of a woman’s right to choose would come in for some blame. But, no—the gays got first dibs.

The rabbi says he doesn’t hate gay people. Maybe, but I don’t think any gays are kvelling over his remarks. It wasn’t a mitzvah, that’s for sure.

* * *

GOOD NEWS for Cher fans and for movie fans. On September 7th, the one and only Cher will sit with Robert Osborne for a night of film-watching and discussion. Cher will be the night’s guest programmer. She is a huge fan of vintage cinema, and quite knowledgeable, too. (I once spent an hour with her in a hotel suite. We sat on a little couch and did nothing but jabber about old movies. I was astonished by her expertise and passion.)

The three films Cher has chosen are the 1936 Ginger RogersFred Astaire musical “Follow the Fleet”…Barbara Stanwyck’s fabulous 1942 backstage murder mystery, “Lady of Burlesque” (you haven’t lived till you see Miss Stanwyck warble “Take It Off the E-String, Play it on the G-String.”) And finally, Cher and Bob will discuss the great Lucille Ball film “The Big Street,” based on the Damon Runyon tale of a crippled, embittered showgirl who treats Henry Fonda like dirt. Miss Ball is brilliant. (The late Kay Thompson always said Lucy was exactly like her character in “The Big Street.” She did not love Lucy.)

This should be a fun night on TV. Now, when is Cher going to sit down with Mr. O and talk about her own career?
* * *

IF YOU miss Oprah Winfrey in her interview mode, you might enjoy “An Evening With Ralph Lauren” at Lincoln Center on October 24th The Great and Powerful O will lead an “intimate and personal” conversation with the great and powerful Mr. Lauren, designer and philanthropist deluxe.

The evening will benefit The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention as well as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Call 212-875-5460 for tix info.

* * *

SO, the president is on Martha’s Vineyard, referred to by Barack Obama as “one of those magical places where people of all different walks of life come together, where they take each other at face value.”

Well, there is a lot of folksy getting together on the Vineyard. It’s hard to escape people there, and you run into them, VIP’s or not, at the bookstore or the fudge shop or the Black Dog Café or at the fruit and corn stands or at the store that sells shirts with fish on them in Menemsha or at the Bite where folks eat standing up from the hood of their cars.

I have had a lot of high old times on the Vineyard where I rubbed elbows with my old pals Mike Wallace, the writers Bill Styron and Art Buchwald or with Katharine Graham or Lady Bird Johnson. I could add Mike Nichols…Diane Sawyer…Hillary ClintonElaine MayDoug CramerEvelyn and Lynn RothschildVernon Jordan and Ann Richards…One upon a time I even partied with the great actress Kit Cornell and her producer Gert Macy and their friend, the playwright Lillian Hellman. And I flirted with the former Secretary of State George Shultz. Plus the fact that I was often the coddled houseguest of Louise and Henry Grunwald; he, being the last great editor of Time magazine in its heyday; she, being the social and fashionable hostess par excellence. So I know the Vineyard can be magic.

But I had to read reporter Melissa Whitworth in the London Daily Telegraph to get a contra view of Martha’s Vineyard. She didn’t bring up Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick—except to mention that Lady Gaga had bought property there. And she avoided mentioning the Vineyard as destination for John Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law. But Whitworth has plenty of bad vibes about the Vineyard.

She refers to the Vineyard winters as “long, bleak and depressing.” She cites author Robert Harris and his view of “a place with about 15,000 eccentric locals and vast millionaires’ estates that sit cold and unlived in for most of the year.” When the summer high of about 100,000 visitors depart, “Local police, counselors and doctors see a spike in depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and domestic violence.” Police Chief Erik Blake of Oak Bluffs says “People look at Martha’s Vineyard and think there is tons of money there, but we have a lot of people out of work. The cost of living is very high…in the winter you have people out of work, their unemployment has run out.”

The Vineyard, along with the Elizabeth Island of Dukes County has the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse in Massachusetts. Demand is high for substance abuse programs. Boredom, unemployment, drugs and alcohol make a toxic mix that often leads to violence. There were 520 domestic disputes last year which is a rather high number considering the population. Locals say 12% of pupils in high school attempted suicide last year.

Then there are the Brazilian immigrants who have lived for decades on the Vineyard. There are about 3,000 of them and they are responsible for a third of all Vineyard births. They are a shadow population and contribute as housekeepers, nannies, chefs, gardeners, handymen, required in the summer months. Now they are the center of a controversy over an accident that happened in 2008. A young white girl was killed in a car crash with an illegal Brazilian immigrant. Writer Whitworth describes it: “Miss Gibson, 20, was traveling at 82 mph. The delivery van driven by Francellyo Dias at 9 mph. Racial tensions have been fully exposed.”

There is always trouble in so-called Paradise.

20 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Lila says:

    Well, it sure didn’t take long, did it? — For a religious extremist to blame an act of nature on gays. What’s that, you say? The rabbi is not an extremist? So how does one define a person who attempts to impose his personal religious beliefs on others; who condones violence to prevent others from expressing themselves (2006, against the planned Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem); and who eschews science and fact in favor of complete nonsense? This is not the first time gayness has apparently caused a quake; the 2010 Haiti quake was because of gays in the military, according to his nutcase statements.

    You know, I get that he has the right to free speech here in the US. I just wish he didn’t have an audience. He ranks right up there with Westboro Baptist Church.

    • avatar Anais P says:

      Lila, too bad there is no “like” option on this Web site, because I definitely like your comments!

  2. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I suspect the problem is no one is shaking the rabbi’s male member. It all gets, well, tired. You can spend eternity trying to be rational with the irrational and trying to psychoanalyze them.  Bottom line, as Elizabeth Taylor put it, life is fair. Unfortunately it’s filled with schmucks. So, well, I guess you learn to ignore the schmucks. I am finally learning to. The rabbi one more added to the list of schmucks to be ignored. The rabbi of course will probably endorse Rick Perry. Not knowing Rick Perry doesn’t reallly endorse him.  And so it goes. This great melting pot of pots calling kettles black called America. Can’t wait for Monday so we can find out who the rabbi blames for the hurricane barreling his way. Literally and figuratively as they say. 
    I do not miss Oprah. I didn’t miss Martha Stewart either. But, well, there they are.  To each their own.  Neither are my own.

    Not everyone loved Lucy.  As for each their own, well, I have come to the conclusion is that I have this affinity for the world’s biggest bitches. But, you know, they all had hearts of gold. Well, except for two of Hollywood’s gooiest “goody-goody girls” who in reality are two of Hollywood’s biggest bitches and whose hearts, well, what makes the strings of their hearts go zing is the rings of the cash register.

    And I am in a dreadful mood. Word to the wise. NEVER ask for a third medical opinion.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      And I like that word. Gayness. The gayness has brought so much into all our lives. The world is more aesthetic, more illuminated, more fun because of gayness. We could use a little more gayness in the world. And some gays could use some gayness as well.

  3. avatar SMALL TOWN GIRL says:

    eartquake .. gays………the most ridiculous thing I ever heard  !! 

    GEOLOGY anyone?

    Glad to hear about Cher on TCM and that she also loved Lucy and not just as Mrs. Riccardo
    but also her films.

  4. avatar af-tx says:

    Soon after taking office, Hitler banned all homosexuals and lesbians and condemned them as “socially aberrant.”  My how soon do we forget.

  5. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    Thanks , af-tx.  Hard to imagine a Jewish Rabbi and Adolf Hitler both condemning the same thing.When we moved to our town more than one third of the population was gay. Little by little property became expensive and lots of them moved to Palm Springs and from Palm Springs moved to Honolulu.  Of course, we still have lots of gay people in town and nobody cares one way or another.  I have two gay men as great neighbors, a lesbian is another neighbor, and I rent an apartment to two gay men.  What’s not to like?  Their conversation is certainly more interesting than the whining of others in the community. We all like to discuss travel, theater, books, business–you name it.  What is there to fear?  When New York passed the same sex marriage law I happened to be chatting with them (about tree trimming) and in the midst of the chat I said “What do you guys think of New York’s passage re same sex marriage” and they said they had been married for two years during one of California’s short lived lucid moments re gay marriage.
    I say Bravo.

  6. avatar calgal says:

    Baby Snooks, you cracked me up with the first sentence of your first post, about the rabbi’s member needing some shaking. Then made me very sad with your last sentence. I know you’ve been having major medical problems, and have missed you when you’ve gone silent. Missed your good sense and humor. I’m sending you my best wishes.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Yes, well, the third opinion was a friend of a friend who apparently thought I found humor in everything which I suppose I do when I “deliver the line” but not necessarily when someone else does and I really didn’t find “The bad news is you probably should have been dead six months ago but the good news is six months later you’re not.” But, as the day has gone on, I have appreciated the humor. All we have is this day. So in that sense, well, I suppose all things considered I probably will be around in another six months. Honestly I have no real desire to give quite a few the pleasure of dropping dead any time soon.

      My thoughts right now go out to all the gals, and the guy, from wowOwow in New York tonight. There’s a cold front moving east. If it moves a little faster and holds together it might move Irene a little easterly.  And it will just cause a little breeze here and there. If not, well, remember, candlelight can be very romantic. As I discovered after Hurricane Ike.

      • avatar Count Snarkula says:

        Baby: What do you mean another six months? I need longer than that to get our banana plantation in Costa Rica settled. Much less to find and procure those fishes. Sorry, you really cannot go anywhere anytime soon. XOXO

        • avatar Baby Snooks says:

          Well the auctions are in December.  As for Costa Rica, well, better plan on “by next November” because Baby Snooks fears there will be a mass exodus to Costa Rica when Pastor Perry becomes President Perry. So prices will go up accordingly on the banana plantations.  I am sure of only two things at this point in my life.  There is a god who leaves the affairs of man to man. And that PT Barnum pegged the American people perfectly.

  7. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    I am so glad the rabbi let me know I have such dominion over the elements!   Now, if I could just work a small earthquake, a minor opening of the earth…maybe while the the rabbi is strolling down the street. 

    As to Irene, I fear heavy rain and yet another roof leakage here in Hoboken.  Otherwise I am not panicked. I have plenty of canned goods and a lot of books.   And the very sensible B.

    Candlelight is divine.  Romantic and  super flattering.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      They just announced your mayor has ordered evacuation of all ground  floor units. I love these mayors. What if you have a two story unit with the first floor on the ground floor? Do you go upstairs and hope you remember not to go downstairs in the dark in the middle of the night? Ours told us during Rita to hit the highway.  So quite a few did. Too many, in fact, did. And all of them ended up out of gas and sitting out on the highways as Rita hit.  Sitting in a car on the highway really isn’t the place to be when a hurricane hits.

      Remember you can survive for days on caviar and crackers and Perrier. Might as well live it up in the candlelight. Keep us posted. From whatever floor you’re on.

  8. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    The rabbi is a scary, pitiful idiot hiding behind his religiosity. Lite a candle Mr. Wow & sensible B. Life is good and we shall overcome.

  9. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    Mr. Wow:  You gave me a great idea!  I know of a few little haciendas that sit right on the San Andreas Fault.  The supposition here is that when the fault opens during an earthquake anything on it will fall in.  Maybe the rabbi would like a change of scene–a move in ready house in California.  I am sure he could find someone to demean before “the Big One” takes place.  Oh, did I mention that the houses were not brought up to code?  No Rebar for the Rabbi.

    Hope the winds and rain are kind to all tonight.

  10. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Well. There is just no way for the Count to state this fact without sounding like he is blowing his own horn. (The clever among you will later realize what I just did there). The Count has, how can I say this delicately, been complimented on his ability to shake his member in a way that has brought a select few a great deal of pleasure. Magical is a word that has come up more than once. My point, and I hope to God I have one, is that if I indeed have a Wizard of Wangs, I would not use it to inflict a earthquake. I would use it to secure equality for all. Which should be much less trouble and challenging than causing an earthquake. But. Seemingly not.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Baby Snooks is blushing. Thinking about magic. And such things. Shame on you. I will have to go to confession now.

  11. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I just saw on CNN that Hoboken is flooding. I hope Mr. Wow is safe and sound. Looks like Irene is going to hit Manhattan directly so Hoboken is just the first to flood. Hope everyone else is safe and sound as well. 10-15 foot storm surge with high tide doesn’t sound good. For anyone.