Tag Archives: Ellen DeGeneres


Do you know what I discovered when I turned 66 this month? Sixty-six is not the new forty-six.  Whoever told us that is lyin’ through their teeth.  I mean I don’t look my age because it is true, for the most part, “black don’t crack,” but my innards are falling apart.  The morning of my sixty-sixth birthday, I swear to God my boobs dropped two more inches in search of the floor, and my stomach distended four more inches making me think I might be pregnant again (generating murderous thoughts toward WW’s thingie until I remembered that I’d gotten the “snatch” 20 years ago, so a pregnancy is damn near impossible).  As to the rest of my lady bits, lately I’ve been using my iPhone to locate women’s rest rooms and planning my events around bathroom breaks with declarative statements like:  “My Potty App is showing a toilet within 10 feet—why don’t I pee while I’m still here and the going is good.”

Old Age Pinterest pin Carol Middendorf

Pinned by Carol Middendorf from Pinterest

As I was “kvetching” over the sorry state of my body, I was mourning the passing of the years and wondering if I had grown spiritually and intellectually, or was I simply deteriorating back into the dust from which I was formed.   While I was downing a pint of coffee strong enough to cause internal combustion, I noticed two news articles online that made me spew my hot coffee all over my computer screen and summarily scream:


Both news articles confirmed and reported on the second annual March for Marriage (organized by the conservative National Organization for Marriage) in front of the Capitol.  Fortunately, it was a bust with a showing of only 1,500 people (they expected tens of thousands) and one low-level elected official as one of the speakers. This “Christian” hate-filled march was such a yawn that I had no idea they were in town until I read that one of the speakers (Rev. Mike Huckabee) said something which made my head explode and prompted me to place an immediate phone call to Martin and Coretta King at “H-E-A-V-E-N-S-G-A-T-E.”

GLENDA: Heelloooo!  You’ve reached Glenda Angelina, assistant to the good Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, the lovely Coretta King.  How may I help you?

ME:  Good Morning, Glenda.  I’m ET the Blogger and author of Monsters’ Throwdown, and I’d like to speak to Rev. King about an urgent matter.

GLENDA:  I know who you are.  I just ordered your book from Amazon Cloud”—it got great reviews in the Celestial Times.  Congrats.  Monsters’ Throwdown has become one of our favorite reads around here—poor black child makes good due to the courage and sacrifices of activists in the Civil Rights Movement really hits home.

ME:  Thanks . . . that’s so sweet.  I will always be indebted to Rev. King and all the others who laid down their lives for me.  Which is why I’m calling.  There has been an attempt to coopt Rev. King’s words and legacy in the name of an anti-gay movement.  Let me read you the titles of the two articles I read today that Dr. King should know about:

The Raw Story’s Mike Huckabee: Martin Luther King Jr. would agree that gay marriage is like the Holocaust” by David Edwards and Salon’s “Mike Huckabee on Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘I wish he were here today’ to join me in discriminating against LGBTQ people” by Katie McDonough.

Persecution of Gays Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission:  “Who Would Jesus Hate?” || Pat Bagley Salt Lake-Tribune

GLENDA:  Oh God, not again (remember when Glenn Beck tried to do this?).  Not only will Rev. King be appalled at how this “Rev.” Huckabee is abusing his reputation and words, but I think King Jesus will be none too pleased at how his words of love and not judging others have been twisted into actions of hate and harassment.  Haven’t the followers of Jesus discovered that in the end “love wins?”

ME:  Well, it’s not all Christians.  This Huckabee guy just has a misunderstanding of the Bible and a big mouth.  He also wants to be elected president in 2016, so he’s pandering to the African-American and Hispanic churches because he knows these denominations are still clinging to some pretty harsh anti-gay rhetoric and lack of inclusion within their churches.  Yet, I don’t know a black church that doesn’t have a ton of gay members who are hiding out in their churches’ closets (starting with the choir directors and moving on down to the deacon and mission boards), just waiting for their place of worship to be a safe haven to come out.   I’m a black Christian, and even though I was against gay marriage many years ago—like President Obama, I evolved.  During the time I was conflicted, I made a list one day of all the pathetic “Christian (heterosexual) marriages” I intimately knew about—husbands cheating on their wives, husbands feeling up other men’s wives, husbands abusing their wives and children, churches instilling fear that gay rights would ruin Christian marriages and children while covering up massive pedophilia cases within their schools and Sunday Schools  (all of them virulently anti-gay)—and I compared these vile stories to the lovely gay and lesbian families I knew (solid faithful marriages, better parents than I’d ever been, and more service-oriented toward the homeless and the disenfranchised than any Christian I had ever known).  Not to mention that their gay marriages had not hurt my marriage of 35 years one iota.  At that point I decided I was “mashugana,” and I repented regarding my ignorant stance on gay rights.

GLENDA:  Mike Huckabee needs to do his homework because he is dead wrong.  Rev. King would have been marching with the LGBTQ community in support of Gay rights because he, too, was always evolving.   Anyway, his wife knows where Martin stood on these issues because she spoke to this point on many occasions—not the least of when she spoke at an event in 1998.  If I remember correctly, Coretta Scott King said:

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice.  But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

Gay Marriage Horsey Los Angeles Times

Cartoonist David Horsey, Los Angeles Times

ME:  I know, I know . . . I am sure that Rev. King would have lead a march against the NOM organizers and made his position known loud and clear that he despised their stand on gay rights.  Can you deliver my message to him that his legacy and words are being coopted by the likes of that hater Huckabee and have Rev. King do something about this before it is too late?

GLENDA:  I’m afraid neither Rev. King nor Mrs. King can be interrupted right now.  Rev. King is watching the World Cup with Jesus, Gandhi, Golda Meir, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Harvey Milk, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant , and a slew of Palestinian martyrs (don’t ask).  Mrs. King is having lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt, St. Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, and Rosa Parks.  But I know what Rev. King would say to you.  He would tell you that his fight is done.  He has passed the baton of civil rights for all to you and others like you.  You must fight the good fight and never give up—build on the legacy he left you.  Can you do that?

Gay Rights John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Used by permission:  Gay Rights John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune


I am discovering that I may be an old fart but I am evolving into a better human being.  As I’ve grown older, I may not be able to hold my urine for more than a couple hours, but I’ve learned not to judge others and how to love those who are different than I am.   There was a time when it would have been against the law for my white husband and me to be married, and there would have been no where we could have lived together without fear of harassment and scorn. Today we live in neighborhoods where our neighbors adore us because of who we are and what we contribute to the common good.  I will not stop speaking out in support of gay rights until my gay brothers and sisters enjoy the same.

Anti Gay Agenda Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission:  Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

We are each made for goodness, love, and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.”—Desmond Tutu

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”—Ellen DeGeneres

 “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. . . .This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”—Coretta Scott King, Source: Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998, p.18.



Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Karma Can Be a Bitch

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  There is a God because every once and awhile the shit hits the fan against the enemies of our souls and we are vindicated.  Most bullying situations in life don’t have a Hollywood ending, but every now and then, karma has a way of circling back and biting the bully in the ass, and to that we—the bullied—cry “OO-YAH”!

At my moonlighting job as an advice columnist, “Big Mama Speaks,” I received several letters of interest this week from bullies, their bullying relatives, and innocent observers of bullying.  I’d like to share with my readers a sampling of some of the letters along with my answers which illustrate the “payback is a bitch” principle when it comes to being a bully, and that the best revenge against a bully, of any type, is “living well.”


Osama bin Laden’s hideaway being demolished/AP Image

Aasalaamu Aleikum, you infidel, Big Mama:  Let me please introduce myself—I am one of Osama bin Laden’s wives and we have heard of your blog and your advice column, even in Pakistan, where we are now under house arrest with our many, many children.  Of all Osama’s (Allah be praised) wives, I have always been the most sophisticated and forward thinking (as you can see, I speak English very well).  Now that “O” is no longer alive to try and take over the world, I am a realist and realize that we wives will need to get jobs to support ourselves and our children, but we have no skills.  I have been checking out your American television programs.  Most of them are disgusting (what can you expect from infidels, yes?), but I do watch Downton Abbey (what a delicious show about the disgusting British Imperialism), The Oprah Channel (I secretly envy her empowerment as a woman), Desperate Housewives (this gives us all the guilty-pleasure giggles), reruns of Big Love (who knew we had something in common with you Americans?), and select pickings from the Bravo channel and the Food Network.  After much thought and careful discussion among the other wives, we’ve come up with an employment plan that may work, and we don’t have to leave the house (which would cause an international incident) to get it done.  What if we filmed our lives in our current “house arrest” situation and submitted it for airing on the Bravo channel?  We would call it:  The Real Housewives of Abbottabad.  I am writing to see if you would be our representative with the Jew, Andy Cohen, who produces the housewives series in America.  We could do a demo and send it to you to pass along.   I have uploaded a picture of our favorite Housewives cast so that you do not get confused as to which one we wish to pattern our show after (the Atlanta ladies have such great swag).  I have also included a shot of my sister wives and me so that you can gauge our potential as reality show material.   I look forward to your reply.  Signed:  One of “The Real Housewives of Abbottabad” (TRHA)

The Real Housewives of Atlanta/Cast photo

Wa-Aleikum Aassalaam TRHA:  Big Mama doesn’t even know where to begin, child.  To be perfectly blunt, I did not like your husband.  (No, I did not, girlfriend!)  Matter of fact, I had to keep myself from doing the “Jumping Jack Flash” dance of joy when I found out your old man was dead.  Since my mama always told me I should never speak ill of the dead because it was bad luck, about the nicest thing I can say about your boo is that he was a horrible bully.  (Also, before I forget, I don’t know Andy Cohen or I’d submit my own housewives reality show to him:  Big Mamas Who Take No Shit from Terrorists, Bullies, or Otherwise.)

Google Image

But I am so glad you wrote because Big Mama has a butt-load of questions that I’d like to ask you given recent news reports.   I read that three of you wives, eight children, five grandchildren, and support staff all lived in the suburban house that was recently demolished in Pakistan.   (Is it true that bin Laden was married 22 times and has 54 children?  How did he find time to do anything else but the “nasty” given all those women?)  I also read that “First Wife” is a colossal bitch and that she and the youngest wife (Osama’s favorite—is that you?) were the Nene Leakes and the Kim Zolciaks of your own “Real Housewives” scenario.   Word on the street is that all the wives bitched and complained so much to bin Laden that he stayed holed up in his room watching hours of endless porno tapes to keep his head from exploding.  It is all so delicious and I must tell you that, as an American, I relish the thought that you all tormented your husband’s sorry-ass until he couldn’t think straight.  He probably was the one that tipped off the Navy Seals about his own hideout just to have some peace.  According to the interviews given to the Pakistanis by all of you, Osama was in terrible health, as well as mentally unstable in his final days.  Wow!  I guess you do qualify to become a Real Housewife of “fill in the blank.”  Good times!

Osama bin Laden/Google Image

Your terrorist bully of a husband is probably thinking by now that Hell is a five-star resort compared to living with his bitching and complaining wives—all under one roof with nowhere to go day, after day, after day, after day.   (I’m sorry; I don’t mean to revel in Osama’s misery—but then again, I think I do.)

So what else can I tell you?  I don’t have the clout to make you and your “girls” reality stars.  Big Mama is not a miracle worker.  But you’re probably as much victims of Osama’s bullying as the rest of the people he terrorized around the world which does soften my heart towards you, I must say.  My advice to you, baby, is to write a tell-all memoir and live well off the proceeds (Our Lives As Wives With That Son-of-a-Bitch, Bin Laden or He Promised Me the World But All I Got Was This Lousy Burqa).  It will be a bestseller, I promise you.

Book Jacket/Google Image

“Limbaugh became a radio powerhouse and a leader of the Republican Party, through withering attacks that rile up his base. . . . This time Limbaugh picked on a soft-spoken young woman no one had ever heard of and mockingly challenged (Sharon) Fluke to post a sex video online. He looked like a bully.” By Howard Kurtz (Why Rush Limbaugh’s Apology for Sandra Fluke ‘Slut’ Remarks Bombed—The Daily Beast)


Dear Big Mama:  I am visiting your country from another planet and have been following your American slander gab shows.  No offense, but have the people in your country all lost their minds—especially the Conservatives?  Who is this person called Rush Limbaugh?  You know— the one who flings racist darts at your leader and his family as if they were human piñatas whose bodies he’s trying to poison.   Is there any race Mr. Lumbaugh likes other than the white one?  This kind of incivility is unheard of on other planets.  I had heard of your “American Exceptionalism” on my planet, and I was intrigued and really looking forward to getting to know what that was all about but it seems to breed only arrogance.  I googled this Rush Limbaugh and found that Mr. Limbaugh says he talks to God every day.   But from what I know of God, I don’t think he is listening, do you?   I’m looking forward to your perspective for my travel journal.   You are an interesting species, to say the least.  Signed:  Disappointed in Americans

Dear Disappointed:  RL says hateful things about everyone who doesn’t agree with him, and it is all for the Benjamins.  Rush is such a bully that an entire political party is scared to death of him.  God is listening, alright, Sugar, but I don’t think any of us wants to know how severely he finds us wanting for our hatefulness towards each other.  Unfortunately, we have a slew of these bullies, my celestial friend (most claiming to have some type of God connection), except for maybe the mean-spirited, manipulative conservative watch dog, Andrew Breitbart, who just crossed over the “great divide” with a lot of explainin’ to have to do to his Maker for his serial character assassination plots and manipulation of information used to destroy the lives and livelihood of innocent people for sport.  If there is a God, Andrew Breitbart should have to serve as Shirley Sherrod’s butler for the first third of eternity.   I don’t know about where you come from, Alien-Baby, but evil doesn’t remain status quo forever here.  Bullies get their comeuppance in the end ‘cause bad karma sure is a bitch, and it will come back like a boomerang to bite them in the ass when they least expect it.

Snapshot of JC Penney/Ellen DeGeneres Commercial

Dear Traitor to the Name of Jesus, Big Mama:  I am one of the One Million Moms who signed up to get JC Penney to drop Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson for their company because she does not represent family values and promotes a degenerate lifestyle.  But I have noticed that you have refused to join our cause and what is even more maddening is that you have publicly come out in support of this lesbian.  Our campaign against JC Penney was a bust because of people like you.  And you call yourself a Christian.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  Well, I’m writing to tell you that unless you repent, you’re going to burn in Hell! Signed: OMM “True Believer”

Dear OMM BullyOooooh-kay!  Can I suggest you switch to decaf for starters?  After you’ve calmed down a bit, Bully-Mommy, I’d like to point out that your group’s name is a “teensy-weensy bit” overstated, so you might want to rein that verbosity in a tad bit.  The last time I checked out your website, you had 44,000 “likes” and counting.  Not quite 1M.  The One Million People for Ellen surpassed your group 5 times and counting within days of its launch.  Second, I didn’t see anything anywhere where Ellen DeGeneres or JC Penney said, shop with us and Ellen, and we will give you a 20% coupon to our next, “You too can be gay if you just walk my way” seminar.   Finally, “judge not lest ye be judged,” OMM groupie.  Ellen’s sexuality is Ellen’s business, not mine or yours.  If this is such a big deal with God, why don’t we trust him to have a little chat with Ellen and Portia?  Or don’t you trust God to do the right thing?  You know what I think?   I think you secretly suspect that God doesn’t hate the things you hate.  Isn’t that a bitch?  In the meantime, Hell ain’t half-full yet, so keep on “actin’ ugly” and we’ll let God be the judge of who wins the race to Heaven.

  At this point, JC Penney, Ellen, and me

 are happy as hummingbirds in a hibiscus tree.

 (Damn, I’m a poet and don’t know it!)


I am discovering that not being liked never killed anybody—how we react to not being liked is the thing that can do us in.  I don’t remember a day that passed in my elementary, junior high and high schools when I wasn’t being bullied.  It was a rare day when I didn’t cry myself to sleep most nights because I didn’t fit in, wasn’t accepted, wasn’t loved, or was just having the plain ol’ shit beat out of me.   Bullies flanked me on my left and right, front and back, top and bottom, home(s) and school(s), playgrounds and alleyways, but I never let them have the final word.  The more they tortured me, the more I resolved not to let them win.   I encountered my first bully when I was six years old and even at that tender age I instinctively knew that no one else was the “boss of me.”  When a caretaker was beating me senseless with a razor strop (thick leather strap used to sharpen straight razors) while she screamed, “I better see some tears or I’ll beat your fat ass into next week,” I determined not to shed a drop of tears, and I didn’t.  I still remember the look of fear in that woman’s eyes when she realized a six-year-old, with fury emanating from my dryless eyes like fire bolts, had stood up to her bullying and had won the day.

I am very supportive of the anti-bullying campaign of “It Gets Better,” but it only tells part of the story.  When the bullied don’t let the bullies define them, and we chose to live our lives to the fullest in spite of them, then that truly is the best revenge.

“Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”  ~Harvey Fierstein


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Grit Is the Word

(Dedicated to KLT)

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I should be writing about Valentine’s Day but I just can’t do it!  I’ve got nothing against Valentine’s Day and less against romance.  (If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I think I’ve made it pretty clear what type of relationship I have with my husband [“White and Wonderful,” a.k.a. “WW”] , and that our reoccurring theme song—even after thirty-two years of marriage—is “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye.)  It’s just that this once a year shot at force-feeding romance down our throats sort of leaves me cold.  I’m much more of a “show your love to me all year long through random acts of kindness routinely administered” kind of gal. 

So I’ll leave V-Day in the capable hands of more accomplished bloggers than I and move onto something near and dear to my heart:  TRUE GRIT!

“Research shows it’s not enough to be smart.  To get where you want to go in life, you’ll need determination, stamina, and grit.”—Lisa van Gemert (MENSA Bulletin)

The remake of “True Grit” by the Coen brothers is one of my all-time favorite movies because it deals with the fortitude and perseverance—the grit—that it takes to accomplish a seemingly impossible goal.  Grit becomes a character, in and of itself, in the movie, and it pulls the viewer into an intense journey that is both perilous and triumphant, and not without cost.

I am not a stranger to “grit” myself.  It has been my companion all my life and rode on the train that I took out of the Cleveland ghetto through the hallowed halls of my higher education and prosperous life.  I understand true grit, but I’ve never liked itIt is way too hard to acquire, and if one lives long enough, it always returns and beckons one to revisit it at another time, in another place, during another journey.


Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about grit because I’m trying to become a writer at sixty three years old, and I’m hitting some hurdles in the callous dog-eat-dog world of literary agents and publishers.  Nothing worth having comes easily—I know that—but haven’t I already paid my dues to the god of true grit in my hard-knock life?  As I pondered the definition of “grit” over and over in my mind (“perseverance and passion for long-term goals”), I thought of what it would be like to form a panel of two or three women who seem to be oozing with “grit” and ask them questions that would help me stay the course in my new adventure.

So I put about fifty names of “women with true grit who have authored at least one book” in a bowl and promised myself I’d have an imaginary discussion with the first three names that I pulled out—dead or alive—no matter how disparate.

Harriet Tubman/Google Image (public domain)

Ellen DeGeneres/Google Image

Maya Angelou/Google Image/AP Photo

ELT:  Good evening ladies.  It was so good of you to accept my invitation—especially you Mrs. Tubman. It is such an honor to meet you, and I hope heaven is treating you well.  Ellen, so good to see you—can I tell you that I love, love, love your talk show, and I think you were the bomb in Finding Nemo.   You made that movie! Dr. Angelou, you have been one of my idols for years.  I was so jealous that Oprah asked you to be her mentor before I could get a word in edgewise.  But I’m over that now because I learned from you not to be a hater.  I know you wouldn’t want me to hold a grudge against my girl Oprah.

Ladies, I’d like to present my readers with a short bio about each of you before we start our question and answer session, if that’s okay with you.

Harriet Tubman was a slave from Dorchester, Maryland who escaped the brutality of her masters by fleeing to the North as a young woman but not before being routinely beaten and hit by a heavy metal weight in the head which caused disabling seizures and headaches all of her life.  Upon arriving in Philadelphia, she hired herself out as a domestic and with the money she saved made twenty rescue trips to the South—freeing hundreds of slaves without losing one of them.   Known as “Moses” to slaves near and far, she became a prominent conductor of the Underground Railroad, an outspoken abolitionist, an advocate of women’s rights, and a scout and spy for the Union army.  Mrs. Tubman wrote her autobiography with Sarah Hopkins Bradford in 1868 which was entitled Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman.

Ellen DeGeneres is an Emmy-winning talk show host, comedienne, author, host of the Grammy, primetime Emmy, and Oscar awards.  Ms. DeGeneres has written three books entitled The Funny Thing Is, My Point and I do Have One, Seriously. . .I’m Kidding.

Maya Angelou, who was mute for eight years after a brutal childhood rape and living under systemic racism, grew up to become a celebrated poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist,  producer, and director.  Dr. Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and written over 20 books.  She has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.  Dr. Angelou is best known for the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and her Pulitzer Prize nomination of her book of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie.

ELT:  Well, on that note ladies, let us begin!

How would you tell someone how to find their “calling” or their “path” in life—what they were meant to be?

Ellen:  Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.  Never follow anyone else’s path, unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path; then, by all means, you should follow that path.

ELT:  All of you broke new ground as women and human beings when there were no road signs to direct you.  When did you find out that you were special?

Ellen:  I was doing stand-up at a restaurant and there was a chalkboard on the street out front. It said, ”Soup of the Day: Cream of Asparagus. Ellen DeGeneres.”

Harriet Tubman:  I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death.  If I could not have one, I would have the other—for no man should take me alive.

ELT:  What was your greatest accomplishment?

Harriet Tubman:  I freed thousands of slaves, and could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves.

ELT:  How would you define success?

Maya Angelou:  Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. . . . You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.  Don’t make money your goal.  Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

ELT:  Did you ever fail and how did you deal with rejection?

Ellen:  I’m on the patch right now. Where it releases small dosages of approval until I no longer crave it, and then I’m gonna rip it off.

Maya Angelou:  You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!

ELT:  What advice can you give my readers about not giving up no matter how difficult the journey?

Harriet Tubman:  If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

ELT:  Did you ever get angry with yourself about your choices or your life in general?

Ellen:  Sometimes when I am driving I get so angry at inconsiderate drivers that I want to scream at them.  But then I remember how insignificant that is, and I thank God that I have a car, and my health, and gas.  (That was phrased wrong—normally you wouldn’t say, thank God I have gas.)

Maya Angelou:  I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself.  But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself.  It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes—it is inevitable.  But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all.  So you say to people who you think you may have injured, “I’m sorry,” and then you say to yourself, “I’m sorry.”

ELT:  Has anything about your life ever really frightened you?

Ellen:  My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.  She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.

ELT:  Ellen, recently, a defamation group, calling themselves a “family values group” by the name of One Million Moms, tried to bully JC Penney into dropping you as a spokesperson because you’re a lesbian.   Didn’t that frighten you?  Would you explain what happened and how you dealt with that type of hate?

Ellen:  They wanted to get me fired, and I’m proud and happy to say that JC Penney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson, which is great news for me because I also need some new crew socks.

I usually don’t talk about stuff like this . . . but I really want to thank everyone who is supporting me.  And if you don’t know me very well. . . I want to be clear.  Here are the values that I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for.

ELT:  Crew socks?  Ellen, you’re too funny—even in the midst of haters trying to sabotage what you’ve rightly earned.

Ellen:  I’m glad I’m funny. I’m glad I make people happy, because that’s very important. But I’m most proud to be known as a kind person…Because kindness spreads, and the world is a little nicer out there.

(All words uttered from the mouths of my panel are exact quotes said by them at some point in time and utilized in this imaginary discussion for the illustration of “true grit.”)


I am discovering that there are human beacons in the past and present that illuminate our encumbered pathways to the fulfillment of our dreams.  They show us by example how to “get over.”  We just need to stop, listen, learn, and never, ever, ever, ever give up!


Fred Astaire/Google Image

At Fred Astaire’s first screen test, he received this verdict from studio executives: “Can’t act, can’t sing. Balding.  Can dance a little.”

Fred Astaire was an “American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer, and actor.  His stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films.  He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.  (Wikipedia)

Astaire’s immensely popular dancing style appeared relaxed, light, effortless, and largely improvised.  In reality, he was a hard-working perfectionist who tirelessly rehearsed routines for hours on end. (


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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


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