Posted by Mihal Levy
This past weekend, I attended the Edvant Expo (an education expo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Much like the education system in our country, the Expo was a flop.
From the empty parking lot to the echoing of my footsteps through the vacant convention center, I should have known to turn around and go home, but curiosity kept me trekking forward.
I finally reached an area with a check-in booth and walked up to the “media check in” attendant, who was busy conversing with a friend. (Note to attendant: when you are working the media booth, you probably want to be nicer to the press personnel checking in, since you most likely will end up in their story.) The attendant asked three times if I was sure I was press. I told her I was sure that I was press. She checked her list while I dangled my identification in front of her. Finally, she found my badge and slammed it down on the counter with a “Here!” and continued conversing with her friend. What? No swag? No reusable shopping bag? I could handle the unwelcoming attendant, but not the lack of swag. I kindly asked her to point me in the direction of the expo. She smacked her lips. “Um, behind you,” she said, condescendingly.
What was behind me surely did not resemble an expo of any sort, but more of a low budget Purim carnival at a small synagogue, with “dentist-office-treasure-box” type prizes that end up broken or in the trash long before you even make it back home. But there were no pony rides or face painting booths in sight from what I could tell as I entered.
I headed inside Hall G of the L.A. Convention Center, which was the size of a large school gym with only a few booths near the front. There were less than a dozen people walking around in circles, perhaps trying to see if there was anything they could get out of the ten dollars they threw away at the entrance to get in.
It was as if our education system was staring me in the face. Can anyone say, “Lack of funding or care?” “Budget cuts?” There were a total of approximately ten booths, perhaps twenty at most, but who was counting? I was too busy thinking about how I would spend the rest of my day now that I had blocked out a chunk of time to use here. Sadly overrated.
There were four “booths” worth mentioning, however. The first booth I came across on my way in was Whole Foods. Whole Foods has never failed me yet. They have been at almost every convention I have gone to thus far (maybe I just choose the conventions with natural foods). They were giving away bananas and had a bicycle hooked up to power a blender to make smoothies, which would have been a great idea if there were actually people there to see it. Further in there was someone under a “Radio Disney” sign leading a few children in a “Hokey Pokey” type dance within hula hoops. This was probably more music education the few kids were getting here than they did in their own schools (if they were part of LAUSD, of course). Then there was the Los Angeles Zoo (with animals taken out of their natural habitats and caged in for our delight. I don’t know how I feel about that one, but we will leave that for another article). The last booth that stood out for me stood out not because it was a great idea, but because I wondered what they were thinking. “A1 Traffic School.” Was that what they meant by education? Educating teens and adults about getting out of traffic tickets?
The booths were random and I was disappointed. I expected educational resources, materials, books, games, supplies, teachers, speakers and lecturers. I was expecting McGraw-Hill. I am always expecting more from education and wind up disappointed.
I am an LAUSD survivor myself. During the time I attended, however, music scholarships were just as important as football ones. Classes were not overcrowded, however teachers were still overworked, underpaid and bitter. There were budget cuts that required that my high school P.E. coach be my Social Studies teacher and Drivers Ed teacher as well. (All in the comfort of her too-tight around the waist sweats and yellow pit-stained tees she must have had since she was in high school herself.) Still…things were a little better. Despite my LAUSD education, I went on to receive my Masters degree and teach. I became further disappointed with the limitations set upon teachers by the system and the poor quality of education. My younger cousins in Israel were learning things in high school that were not yet offered to me until my college years, go figure.
The expo was just a reminder of how poor the state of education is in our country. It is true that “No child is left behind,” but no child is able to advance, either. Mediocrity rules our schools. Expos? Our nation?
The expo was not all bad, however. It did reaffirm my decision to home school my own son. There are many opportunities to learn, just not through our education system or at our education expos, but through our own volition.
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August 10, 2010 | 10:59 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
Prop 8 was overturned last week in California and was deemed “unconstitutional.” (It took an appeal process to realize this? Common sense from the get-go told us that it was unconstitutional since “all men are created equal,” right? Women, that’s another story.) I do believe, however, that there are still some people that shouldn’t be allowed to marry. I realized this as I was sitting at a bar a few nights ago in L.A.
There I was, sipping my ice water. (I don’t drink. Not because of some religious practice or lifelong AA affiliation, but simply because I don’t find a reason to. I drink when I am thirsty and that usually merits water. However, liquor-filled chocolates, that’s another story). I also usually don’t hang out at bars, by myself especially, but tonight was an exception.
My husband (a professional musician) was playing at this particular club in Lala land tonight. (It’s always painful to watch him play, and that has nothing to do with his music, and everything to do wth the bar scene.) So there I was, taking in the music and the lovely surroundings.
Single women (and myself) were sitting at the bar as men were casually lurking like wolves ready to attack their prey on the outer edges. (It reminded me of a bad high school dance, where girls were waiting to be asked to dance. I never attended those anyway…) And there I was, a married woman, with my husband less than ten feet away right in the middle of the singles scene. Since I was extremely uncomfortable, especially after answering a few “Do you come here often?” lines with “only when my husband’s playing, like tonight” comebacks, I decided to befriend a woman sitting next to me.
She was attractive and appeared confident and a little bored, so I started up a conversation with her. She said she was meeting up with someone and was really excited. I told her I was there to watch my husband play. We both agreed we felt like fish out of water.
She excused herself and stepped away to “freshen up” before her date arrived. Just then, a familiar face showed up. I was thrilled. One of my friends, whom both my husband and I knew well appeared. He was a family man and we spent a lot of time with him, his wife and lovely family. I was happy to see a familiar face.
Enter Bar Girl back and “freshened up,” as she greeted my “friend.” Apparently he was the “someone” she was meeting up with and excited to see. What a small world, I thought. Then as quickly as he had come in, he explained that he had to leave…with Bar Girl close behind.
They left the bar separately, but together, and then it dawned on me. (I am a tad slow with these things and frankly, naïve.) I felt my heart sink. Ok, now I needed that drink.
What could a married man and a single girl possibly have to do together at this hour? Where could they possibly be headed at almost midnight together? Perhaps to run late night errands? Xerox copying? I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t want to know, but I couldn’t stop thinking about them for the rest of night.
All I kept thinking about was his wife at home with their children waiting and trusting her husband, who was out to “support” a friend (supposedly my husband, not bar girl). I also could not stop thinking about the girl at the bar, who seemed intelligent, confident and beautiful. Is that all she wanted – a quick “meet up” now and again with a man who was clearly unavailable? Was it more exciting that way? Did she have hopes he would eventually leave his wife for her? Was she insecure? Lacking respect for herself? Or did she just always settle for “good enough?”
What was Mr. Suave missing at home? Why was he even married? There is no point in vowing to spend the rest of your life with someone if you don’t want to. There is no need to ever get married, if you are “not the type.” So, what is it that brings people to cheat, instead of just leaving? Isn’t it better to just walk away than live a lie?
In their defense, I do not know where they left together and wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the writing was on the wall. After all, cheating is getting something elsewhere that you do not get with your spouse, even if it is just hanging out at midnight together..
Marriage is a beautiful thing when you find love and share your life with that one person always, but when it is no longer or never was about love and honesty, there is no reason to get married or stay married.
I think Beyonce was wrong when she said, “If you liked it you should have put a ring on it.” Marriage is not always the answer or the right choice for some, however it is good to know that we all now have that choice in California (regardless of sexual orientation). Whether or not some abuse that privilege is another story and unfortunate.
And to my “friend,” I dread having another get together with your family and mine, because I couldn’t bear looking at your wife with a straight face. Have I also mentioned that I hate Beyonce’s song? (I always have. I am not a Beyonce fan to begin with. Sorry Beyonce, nothing personal.)
Sometimes marriage is the wrong decision. Maybe there should be another unconstitutional proposition banning marriage from those that are the “non-marrying type” from ever getting married, gay or straight. It would bring an end to bar girls waiting around late at night for quick “meet ups” and stop girls who otherwise would never drink to start drinking. Just a thought.
August 9, 2010 | 2:25 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
A bakery refused to print a child’s name on his birthday cake over a year ago, bringing attention to the Campbell family of New Jersey. The boy’s name - Adolf Hitler (Campbell). Not only did little Adolf not receive his personalized birthday cake, but was court-ordered to be removed from his home along with his sisters: Joyce Lynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell. And now, a year later, little Adolf will not be going home still.
According to JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) New Jersey’s appeals court ruled against Adolf’s parents for custody of their children. The cake incident brought attention to the Nazi-inspired family, but removal was based on evidence of child abuse and neglect according to the Associated Press.
The parent’s “subtle” naming of their children will have life-long effects on the innocent trio. Only this Adolf is a cute toddler, who will most likely grow up to be hated (by most). Hopefully the childrens’ names are changed soon, they get the little boy some cake, and place the siblings in a good home. Is Mel Gibson looking to adopt?
August 6, 2010 | 11:00 am
Posted by Mihal Levy
A few weeks ago, I got one step closer to being/working on Glee. (Ok, maybe not, but one can hope.) I was a guest at Paley Fest’s “Inside The Writer’s Room” with Glee, only I wish I was actually sitting inside the writer’s room as a writer or on the show singing, or both, but I was happy to be there nonetheless.
The event took place at the Writer’s Guild Theatre in Los Angeles and was filled with guests (me), press (me) and fans (me). (Do I get extra points for fitting into all three categories?) I had the opportunity to meet Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Now I can say I officially have almost met the entire cast and production team of Glee. (You would think that would land me a position on the show…or not.)
The night was filled with lots of Glee highlights and inside the mind of the writers with lots of mingling afterwards, but looking back in retrospect there are probably a few thing I should’ve done differently that night:
For starters, I probably should’ve stopped smiling so much. Perhaps I looked a bit overeager to work on Glee. Maybe I even seemed stalker-esque when I practically sat on Ryan Murphy’s lap choosing the closest seat to him. It was also probably not a great idea to take notes on my iPhone, giving the impression that I was updating my Facebook status every twenty seconds like most of the fans that were just happy to be there. For one, I don’t even have a Facebook account - I just ran out of room on the small notepad I was using.
And lastly, the biggest thing I regret is not having talked to Brad and Ian as we waited outside the elevator in the parking lot afterward. I tried, but couldn’t quite put a coherent phrase together in my mind - “I want to write for you.” “I want to write for Glee.” “I need to write for Glee.” “I can also sing…” - it was too late. Before I could get my thoughts together, the elevator doors opened. They were still standing outside chatting. I had to get in otherwise I would truly look like a stalker at this point.
“Have a good night,” was all I was able to mutter as I jumped in. I don’t know if they said anything as the doors slid shut. But you know what they say…where one door closes…