Book Review: “Brat: An 80’s Story”

Being a child of the 80’s and a fan of classic 80’s movies such as “Pretty In Pink”, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”, when I learned Andrew McCarthy was penning a tale about his Hollywood days, I knew it was going to be a must-read. Indeed it was.

The 223-page turner takes the reader from McCarthy’s innocent childhood acting days in New Jersey to his young adulthood acting days, learning, living and surviving in New York City and eventually Hollywood. Along the way we are introduced to such characters as his first acting teacher Terry Hayden, someone McCarthy states “saved him” and who also correctly told McCarthy: “And if you keep smiling like that, you’re going to charm us all, and it will be your downfall”. Then there’s his former high school teacher- turned-friend named Eddie, whose eccentric way of dressing inspired McCarthy’s fashion sense for the movies “Mannequin”, “Less Than Zero” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.

And those were just some of the few he had encountered even before landing in Hollywood.

While still in college in New York McCarthy eventually lands his debut role in the movie “Class” and takes us on his virgin journey west to California where he gets to work with co-star Rob Lowe and actually live with co-star Jacqueline Bisset. From there, as they say, “a star is born”.

“Class” leads to McCarthy having a starring role in “Pretty In Pink”, as well as a significant role in “St. Elmo’s Fire”, eventually leading to more starring roles in “Less Than Zero”, “Mannequin” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.

McCarthy doesn’t hesitate in his writing to touch upon his onerous relationship with his father, particularly when starting out in Hollywood and finally making a name and living for himself. His honesty is profound in discussing his drug and drinking dependence, how he felt while under the influence in making movies and how it affected his acting.

On a personal note regarding the book, one movie I wish McCarthy had mentioned was his work in the Sally Field directed Christmas movie “The Christmas Tree”. It is my favorite Andrew McCarthy film. But that’s probably because I’m a Christmas fanatic.

As McCarthy points out in the book around the time of “St. Elmo’s Fire”, he was dubbed a member of the “brat pack”, kind of by default. Over the years Andrew McCarthy has worn many professional hats: actor, director, author, travel writer. I wouldn’t say “brat” is one of those occupations.

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Today let’s not forget that anyone, at any time, may have their mental health affected. And they should not be treated any differently by any medical professional than someone who is in the ER because of a broken foot.

It is sad to realize, and experience with your own eyes, a patient in the ER, who, originally there for a medical reason that allegedly the “professionals” cannot find a cause of, be brushed off as it being “mental” simply because the person indicated they did not feel safe going home because of how their stomach felt. Because they felt if they went home, they would be going back to the ER. Because of how their stomach felt. Not because of how they felt mentally.

And now, because they feel it’s more a “mental” thing, they stick you out in the hallway like a fish to be watched. And you are watched. By people who can barely speak English but can easily sit on their asses all day and “watch” you and the three other people they’re supposed to “watch”. Because you have been labeled as “high risk” or as a “section 12”. These “watchers” wouldn’t know what to do if you actually tried to hurt yourself. They are a joke. Your shoes have been taken away. Your drawstring bag has been taken away. But that charger cord for your phone is okay. Right.

You’re allegedly waiting for a “bed” in some mental health hospital. They’re supposedly doing a “search” for an available bed, but right now all the beds are full. Because there is such a worldwide mental health problem. Christ, you’re lucky to have a mental health counselor and a psychiatrist. Then you’re told that the “team” is thinking that you really need to go back up to the other regular unit you were originally in, when you first were admitted to the hospital, and they can evaluate you medically and mentally there. Because you probably wouldn’t survive a mental health hospital. But they have to wait until next week because they have to discuss it with your psychiatrist who is out of the office right now.

Meanwhile you can’t even watch TV because the TVs are in the rooms where the “medical” ER people are. Because only they deserve to watch TV.

All you deserve is to be “watched” by others.

Gratitude?

Remember a year ago when so many were bitching because they couldn’t go out to eat at their favorite restaurants? So many restaurants had closed, some never reopening. Many of them had to re-invent themselves. They began offering outdoor dining or take-out. I remember one restaurant in my state turning into a drive-in.

Now we’re “back to normal”, so to speak, and everyone suddenly wants to go eat at their favorite restaurants, something they haven’t been able to do for a while. Apparently while they’re out having a meal, many patrons feel it’s their right to throw a tantrum when things don’t go their way at the restaurant. The service is slow. They don’t have your sandwich on the menu any longer. The prices have gone up. They’re not open late any longer. They’re short-staffed, because during the height of the pandemic, people who worked in the restaurant industry got smart, said the hell with that shit job, and learned something new and better. I know two people who did just that.

Whatever the reason for the restaurant you always enjoyed prior to Covid suddenly being the worst place to eat, it doesn’t give you the right to act like an asshole when you dine there. I would like to believe most didn’t act like assholes at restaurants pre-Covid. So why act like assholes now?

People in the restaurant industry have gone through a lot. Many successful eating establishments went under. Most are still barely making a profit. They have hired back or hired new employees. The brave and resilient will stay afloat. Many will get sick of your shit and close.

Imagine a world without restaurants. Without any kind of empathy or gratitude towards people in that industry, that’s what it will become. If

So today we learned according to a study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that vaccine effectiveness against Covid-19 infection dropped from 91% to 66% once the Delta variant accounted for the majority of circulating virus.

With this information being released today, who in their right mind would think the pandemic would be over within the next four months? Christ, some states are just getting ramped back up (Massachusetts, I’m looking at you).

I think Fauci was being conservative when he urged the public to get vaccinated and said if the “overwhelming majority” of the population does so the US could have the pandemic “under control” by spring of 2022. At least he said “could”. And define “under control”. That could be anything from actually having an ICU bed available for a child in Texas to Florida only having 42,000 cases in one day instead of 42,143. At least he sounded realistic when he also said “there was no guarantee”. I actually believe the pandemic will last a lot longer than the spring of 2022. Vaccinated or not.

Something Fauci isn’t remembering: this is a *worldwide* issue, not just one in the United States. I actually would not be surprised to be wearing masks for the next five to ten years. Meanwhile, we keep playing with the vaccine and new variants come along. A booster here. A booster there.

We may decide it’s time to vaccinate the under 12 crowd. Many parents won’t do it for one reason or another, mainly because the FDA only just officially made the vaccine “valid” for the 16+ crowd yesterday. That doesn’t even include the 12-15 crowd. And when and if the FDA does approve it “officially” for that crowd? And what happens when the boosters wear off? We don’t even know how long they will last.

We’re still dealing with those who won’t or can’t get vaccinated. Even if you make them. Which really you can’t. You can deny them this, that and the other thing. As if that is really going to make a difference. But you can’t make them get something they either just cannot get or don’t want to get.

What bothers me more than people who can’t or won’t get vaccinated is what we do know and what we don’t know.

Everyone keeps harking on how well the vaccines work, they prevent people from getting really sick, being hospitalized and dying. That’s great, except for the vaccinated people who have gotten really sick, have been hospitalized and have died. Yes, I know the percentages are lower than those of the unvaccinated. But it’s like playing the lottery and winning every time. Eventually your luck is going to run out. What we don’t know is when that will be and what we will do then. Do we really have time to keep playing with a vaccine and yelling at unvaccinated people who have no intention of getting vaccinated when we should really be focusing on what’s coming down the pike?

To Boost Or Not

On September 20 all eligible Americans will allegedly be able to get a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. Of course a date was indicated and then it was insinuated that the FDA would have the final say. So who knows.

Assuming this is going to happen, people will be eligible for their boosters eight months after they had their second Covid-19 vaccine shot. My main question is: and then what?

I’m a fully vaccinated person and I have no intention of getting a booster. My reasons are the same as many: there are millions of people around the world who haven’t even had a chance at their first shot. Earlier this month, the WHO asked wealthy nations to stop distributing booster shots until at least the end of September to give poorer countries the chance to vaccinate their populations with the first rounds of shots. “We’re planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket,” a WHO official said.

Yet here we are getting ready to dole them out. How selfish are we?

Another reason: over-vaccination. Because just like with over-using antibiotics to the point where they won’t do anything good for your body, you can over-vaccinate as well. Even the flu shot we get only on a yearly basis, not eight months after we originally get it.

It’s bad enough we don’t know enough about the actual vaccine. But let’s go ahead and give these people boosters.

The fact that the boosters are being pushed, makes me believe that the CDC and other vaccine supporters have lost confidence in the vaccine. As Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an advisor to the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, said, “I think we’ve scared people. We sent a terrible message. We just sent a message out there that people who consider themselves fully vaccinated were not fully vaccinated. And that’s the wrong message, because you are protected against serious illness.”

So say people get their boosters. Then months later they come down with Covid. Is that going to leave the CDC scratching their heads? Is it going to make them say, whoa! Everyone needs another booster. And another. And another. When does it stop? Because nobody behind the vaccines seems to know enough about how well these work, or for how long they work or what any long-term effects there may be. This entire vaccine shit has been one litmus test after another. Let’s throw this at the wall and see if it sticks. The left hand really has no clue what the right hand is going.

Which leads me to my other concern: the pending FDA approval of this vaccine, which is rumored to be happening on Monday. That only makes it “official” in the United States. Not the entire world. And I’m sure it’s the final straw they are using to try to get more people vaccinated. But there are a lot of FDA approved vaccinations in this country many people refuse to get. And the Covid-19 vaccine will be one of them. I don’t expect any rushed FDA approval of the vaccine to change many minds that have already been made up for months.

Another concern of mine is being lumped into the unvaccinated category. Are people who refuse boosters going to be taunted and pressured by other vaccinated people, just as they do to people who refuse to get vaccinated? I’m still vaccinated. I just don’t wish to get a booster. Are people who get boosters going to have an issue with that?

Everyone keeps harking on the ways people can keep themselves safe: get a shot and wear a mask. Really the best thing you can do to keep yourself safe from getting Covid is to just stay home. Seriously. If we were all staying home as much this year as we had been last year, we wouldn’t be in half the bad shape we’re in. But we all had to get back to the bars, the restaurants, the traveling, the cruises, the offices which were running just fine with us working from home. Think about it: the less you leave your home, the less likely you’re going to come in contact with Covid. You can get ten million shots and wear three facemasks at once but if you go out, you increase your chances of coming in contact with the virus. At home, not as much.