Posted by Misha Henckel
1. Kate is a commoner. Yep, Kate might be the perfect woman in every respect, to the rest of the world, but to the British royal family, she is just a commoner. Just one of us. This wedding is a huge symbol of change. Prince William is breaking with tradition to follow his heart and wed his beshert. It’s a triumph of the soul and of love. There’s nothing more worth celebrating.
2. Princess Diana would approve. William’s mother, the great Princess Diana, who did so much to challenge the establishment and to bring care and compassion to the suffering would be delighted and would bless the union. I bet she’s dancing around, right now, as she looks down on her first born. He was not afraid to make the right choice.
3. Marriage is a blessing. With so many marriages in the toilet, and the divorce rate at over 50 %, it is rare to see a couple so well matched, so perfectly suited to one another. And it is heart-warming and inspiring that these two found each other, and allowed their connection to flourish. In these times, we need examples of great marriages, and to be reminded that it can work, particularly if the souls fit together.
4. It brings us together. With all the pain, struggle and turmoil of recent years, we are all desperately in need of something we can all celebrate. It’s easy to mock the Brits and their love for the monarchy, but why not just see the beauty of these two youngsters and join in the joy?
5. The dress, duh! Who doesn’t want to see what fashionable Kate will be wearing? She is perfectly stylish, and a true fashion icon. And I’m sure the dress is going to be a real statement. Fashion is art, and art nourishes the soul. So I will be sitting on the edge of my seat for that first glimpse of Kate’s dress, and everything else that she and William will be doing. And to all those who could care less, well they can just stay steeped in their misery. I am happy for this grand excuse to celebrate!
2.13.12 at 11:37 am | She made our souls dance
1.30.12 at 11:28 pm | With excellent and unpredictable choices...
1.22.12 at 4:27 pm | She's teaching us how to fight every single day
1.16.12 at 1:02 pm | No real surprises
11.24.11 at 1:13 pm | This is still the most amazing country in the. . .
11.10.11 at 10:46 am | Sometimes it's not what you do, but what you fail. . .
6.28.11 at 10:39 pm | She's not at all like so many of our political. . . (68)
3.3.11 at 11:30 pm | Sheen mania has swept across the airwaves and. . . (12)
4.18.11 at 4:56 pm | And she can thank her lucky stars for that (11)
April 22, 2011 | 12:40 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
The royal wedding will be seen by more people around the world than any other event in television history. Every major network and quite a few less important ones will be devoting their best reporters, and hours and hours of airtime to the historic event. Forget tsunami-ravaged Japan, people-led revolts in the Arab nations, and the almost hopeless, economic situation here in the US, come April 29th, CNN will have at least 125 reporters on the ground in London, the main anchors camped out in front of Buckingham Palace.
Where are our priorities? Is this massive outlay of resources justifiable? Or have we simply gone royal wedding mad?
If we have, there is good reason. At a time of so much upheaval, tragedy, and human suffering, America, Britain and the rest of the world are all desperately seeking a feel good story, something to celebrate, to believe in, a bit of hope, a fairy tale. And these young, British royals seem to have the answer.
I can remember 1981, when Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer fever gripped the world. Everybody was caught up in that fairy tale. It all seemed so glamorous, so romantic. The prince had finally found his princess. But it was only a fairy tale, a façade. Charles married Diana even though he was in love with someone else. And Diana knew it, but was pressured into following through with the wedding. That someone else, of course, was Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles’ current wife, and clearly his true soul mate.
Can you imagine having to marry someone you do not love because it’s the “right” thing to do? Or watch the person you love marry another, again because it was appropriate or what the royal family required? Or find yourself marrying someone that you know does not love you, and whom you do not love, but you feel like you have no choice?
While the world delighted in the fairy tale, the participants themselves were suffering.
So what about Prince William and Kate Middleton? Is this just another fairy tale? Just fodder for the prying eyes of a desperate world? Is this another marriage where the participants do the “right” thing? Where they just play the role their families and their country want them to play, regardless of how they really feel inside? Is this just a fairy tale or is this a true romance?
The measure of a relationship is in the degree to which the people involved make each other better persons, or not. Do they bring out the best in each other? Do they push each other to grow? Do they “get” each other’s souls? Do they nurture each other?
It looks like William and Kate have something real. She is not at all whom he should be marrying. She is a commoner, a middleclass girl with no links to British nobility. That’s a good start, he’s chosen from the heart. Then there is a true friendship between them that is the basis for the marriage. They have been through much together, over the last ten years. The relationship has been tried and tested and their bond has proven to be very, very strong. It looks very much like they are equals in every respect. And that they make each other stronger, better individuals. Add to that William’s awareness of what his mother suffered, his own compassion and sensitivity, and Kate’s real, inner strength and this thing may actually be a real, true romance that can go the distance.
In the past, royals married for every wrong reason - wealth, power, bloodlines. Perhaps William’s first significant act, as an heir to the British throne, is to be a true example of romance and marriage, one that transcends class, tradition, and bloodlines, and that is simply based in honest, pure, love and friendship.
April 18, 2011 | 4:56 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
With the wedding of Britain’s Prince William to Kate Middleton just around the corner, the pop culture world is abuzz with comparisons between the princess-to-be and William’s mother, the ever-popular, late Princess Diana. But Kate is no Diana. And for that she can thank her lucky stars. For as beautiful, as caring, and as popular as Diana was, her path was always a challenging one – one that eventually came to an early and most tragic end.
Born into British nobility, Diana was the third daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer. Spencer was a descendent of Charles II, and he himself served as equerry to King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II. Diana’s maternal grandmother was lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. But it was a family that was tragically dysfunctional. Her parents divorced when Diana was seven, and Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd, lost custody of the children, when her own mother testified that she was an unfit mother. Diana would grow up to be a poor student and prior to her engagement to Prince Charles, at the age of 19, she worked as a nanny.
Kate Middleton on the other hand, comes from decidedly common stock - working class laborers, miners, and the like. Her parents worked for British Airways, her mom - a flight attendant, dad - an airline officer. The Middletons rose to affluence when the online party supplies business they founded, in 1987, became very successful. In secondary school, Kate was a great athlete and an excellent student and went on to the University of St. Andrews to earn an Honors degree in the History of Art. It was here that she would meet William.
Diana may have come from nobility, but it was a nobility fraught with pain, neuroses, and dysfunction. And Diana embodied much of what she came from. It was in spite of her DNA that she became an icon of philanthropy and a force for change within the stagnant, British royal family.
Kate comes from self made people. She is grounded in good, English common sense. She is a strong, young woman who seems, in every way, on equal footing with William. Same age, similar education, true, long-term friendship, looks like everything they need to deeply respect each other. Unlike the situation with Diana, where Charles always had Camilla (Parker Bowles), his soul-mate, in the wings, for William, Kate is the soul mate. And she looks ready to take on whatever the journey brings. I have a feeling she won’t battle away with the Queen, like Diana did. No, Kate would probably get her way with the House of Windsor with far more skill and savvy. After all she is nearly 10 years older than Diana was when she entered the royal family. And a well educated Kate is probably less inclined to be driven by her feelings than the very emotional Diana.
Kate is no Diana, and she can thank her lucky stars for that!
So the million dollar question is: Will things work out for Kate and William? I think they have a much better chance than Diana and Charles ever did. But much remains to be seen.
April 6, 2011 | 11:47 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
It’s the sequel we’ve all been waiting for. And it does not disappoint. When Harry Met Sally 2 matches the spirit and feeling of the original blockbuster hit, and then takes it to the next level. It’s a must see movie, with Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Rob Reiner, Maya Rudolph among others. I love that Billy Crystal is still making great art. And Helen Mirren? Well the woman is older, and seriously sexy. I want to be like that when I grow up. Now take a look. My 14 year old daughter, nearly died laughing. Don’t forget to post your comment on this page.
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April 4, 2011 | 12:44 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
Charlie Sheen’s My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option tour is off, and well, after a disastrous start, improving. So with 18 cities to go, can this actually work out for him?
After bombing in Detroit, where the fans booed him off the stage, Sheen regrouped, reformatted the show and received a standing ovation at the second stop, Chicago. Surprised? I know most people, after Detroit, felt that this was it! This entire ridiculous farce was over, and Charlie would cancel the tour and head back to California to lick his wounds and binge away whatever little is left of his life.
This may well, still play out. But suppose it doesn’t? What if the ego in him is greater than the addict? Having thrown down the gauntlet on himself making “defeat really not an option” he might just be forced to deal with reality. Finally!
It could happen. The male ego is a powerful thing. For many men, not failing is the driving force in their lives. It’s not about winning, it’s about not failing. Winning? Who knows what that is? We can spin anything into “winning, duh!” But for a guy, failure - that is very real and it can sting. And the fear of failure is even worse than the failure itself.
After Detroit, Charlie was probably looking down a dark chute, for the first time in his life, peering into the abyss. That Detroit crowd may accomplish what no one in Charlie’s life has ever done. Staring failure in the face, his ego screaming, “defeat, really is not an option!” shocked and shamed at the possibility that all his ridiculous claims may come to nothing, he may wake up and decide to finally grow up. He may realize that it is in his best interest to clean up his act. To go get some help, for real, this time.
And who wouldn’t want to see that happen? Even in the midst of all the craziness, he still somehow maintains a likeability that is quite remarkable. I’m thinking even the so called “Trolls” would feel a twinge of happiness should Charlie turn his life around.
I guess we will see… Next stop Cleveland, Tuesday.
March 27, 2011 | 11:45 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
This past week, we were all captivated by the life and spirit of Elizabeth Taylor. What struck me the most, in listening to, reading, and watching all the stories about the great actress, was that throughout her remarkable life, she remained true to herself. Her choices were determined not by the wishes or beliefs of others, but by her own truth, her own soul.
The studios were famous for grooming and shaping their talent, just as they pleased. And if you wanted to be a star you sure as heck did what they said. But not a young Elizabeth Taylor. Very early on, then signed to MGM, she refused to acquiesce to the studio’s “request” that she change her name and remove the mole on her face.
She would marry whom she loved and refused to be trapped in relationships that no longer worked. Some might say that she did not respect the institution of marriage. Eight marriages, seven husbands – that’s far too many. But I would argue that, as a passionate, strong-minded woman, Elizabeth was simply unable to abide by anything less than an ideal marriage. It is after all the most incredible gift to humankind, marriage - the opportunity to share love, joy and true connection with another person. Unlike many women, Elizabeth did not need to marry for financial security. She could marry for love. And when the relationship proved to be less than what it was meant to be, she had the courage to be true and to move on.
She changed religions, choosing Judaism in her twenties, not because, as some believe, it was the religion of her third husband, Mike Todd, but because she wanted to. It was true for her. We know this because decades later, last week, her funeral, was presided over by a rabbi. And because she was an ardent and loyal supporter of the State of Israel, for which she was black-listed by many Arab countries. No lip-service here, she donated large sums to Israel and Jewish causes.
She broke through the glass ceiling, in the early sixties becoming the first actor, male or female, to be paid a million dollars. Think of it - a woman, the highest earner in any industry. Unheard of! Elizabeth was unquestionably a woman who knew her worth and demanded it.
Never afraid to go against the grain, with the outbreak of AIDS in the 1980s, she awakened to the overwhelming need to help, and at a time when few even acknowledged the disease, she helped organize and host the very first AIDS fundraiser. She would go on to help raise more than $100 million to help battle HIV/AIDS. Later, she acknowledged the struggle she faced in changing the prejudices towards those suffering from AIDS, “I had to fight! I had to fight! “ Yes, she fought for her friends and for those who had no one to speak for them, and she did it when it was the most unpopular thing to do.
She struggled though her own pain and suffering too, lots of it. But through it all, she was a woman who was not afraid to be true to who she was. And ultimately, that’s what it takes to live life well. She was a great role model for us all. Thank you Elizabeth!
March 21, 2011 | 1:46 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
It’s all about social media these days. If you’re not up with Twitter and Facebook, you’re just not in touch. You’re not relevant. And it’s not just about keeping up, there’s huge value in these latest forms of the Digital Age: bringing down dictators in the Arab world, providing disaster response solutions in tsunami-ravaged and nuclear-threatened Japan, reconnecting us with those whom we’ve lost touch, and all the branding and marketing power that they provide.
But social media can also be used to disseminate thoughtless, insensitive, hurtful, or downright mean messages. Take for example the top seven tweets of this past week as presented in HuffPost’s Short and Tweet: The Top 7 Tweets of the Week from the Fringe and Famous. That list included flagrantly cruel and senseless tweets by Gilbert Gottfried. Comments made at the expense of the Japanese people who are suffering through the most unspeakable horror. 50cent made the list, also having tweeted carelessly, cruel thoughts about the Japanese. He then had the audacity to tweet,” Some of my tweets are ignorant I do it for shock value. Hate it or love it. I’m cool either way 50cent.”
Really 50? You’re cool? Sounds like the words of a senseless idiot, who is just cruel!”
Our words have power. Tremendous power. And Twitter, Facebook and other social media have made that power exponential. So while the idea is to share our thoughts, our feelings, our reactions to things that we are experiencing with those in our network, the immediacy of this media often means that we’re putting out into the world things that we should never, ever share.
Problem is: we have at our disposal the most powerful means of communication ever known to humankind and not one of us has had a lesson in how to use it appropriately. Twitter and Facebook can be used as powerful tools or they can simply be abused. So what’s it going to be, cool or cruel?
March 16, 2011 | 1:16 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
The scale and frequency of natural disasters has undoubtedly become far more severe in the last decade or so. And sooner rather than later, we are all likely to be severely impacted. So what can we learn from Japan’s recent and on-going catastrophe?
1. Be Fully Prepared. This may seem obvious, but so many of us, especially here in Southern California, are not ready for the next big one, whatever it may be - earthquake, tsunami, brush fire… Do we have supplies? A real plan? Have we spoken with our kids, elderly parents? Do we even know what we should do under various circumstances? Chances are, for many, if not most people the answer to these is “NO.” There are many sources on the web with all the specific steps for disaster preparedness. Here’s an excellent one: National Center for Disaster Preparedness
2. Be Part of the Solution. Educate yourself on how to survive. We may be so busy hoping that this sort of thing never happens to us, or in sticking our heads in the sand and avoiding thinking about this possibility at all, that we miss the opportunity to really be equipped for when the disaster does arrive at our own door. Now is the time to do research, get some training, brush up on our first aid or trauma skills, learn how social networks can be utilized for disaster response. Check out the FEMA Emergency Management training programs http://training.fema.gov/Programs/
3. Gaman – Pulling Together, Calm, Patience, Stoicism in the Face of Disaster. Gaman is a quality that we need to borrow from Japan. Watching the people there face these terrible circumstances, we can only admire and respect their orderliness, self control, perseverance and willingness to work together under the most painful and challenging circumstances. There is no looting or people-related chaos. This is a quality that we could desperately use, even on normal days – thinking about the wellbeing of others, of our community as a whole, not just ourselves. Last night, Nick Kristoff of the NY Times, former Tokyo bureau chief, talked to Piers Morgan about Japanese culture and gaman Nick Kristoff on Piers Morgan
It’s not “if,” it’s “when” will disaster strike us. Challenging stuff to deal with, so let’s be as ready as we can.