When respected weather forecasters start sounding like mad scientists from a Hollywood apocalypse movie … maybe it's time to start taking things seriously.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Whether your thoughts about climate change are emotional (that'd be Red) or based on fact and science (Black, of course), there's no getting around the fact that it's a controversial subject, although the recently released United Nations report seems to be undeniable.
Red may not pay attention to all the details, but she's been a climate change "believer" for a while now. To date, she hasn't been a "Debbie Downer" (as she'd say) or outspoken (although she does admire the tenacity, if maybe not the personality, of environmental activist Greta Thunberg who got the world's attention with her "How dare you" comment to the United Nations), but things have now changed dramatically,
One of my favorite movies is "The Day After Tomorrow" with Dennis Quaid, which is all about an unexpected, and disastrous, turn in the timing of climate change. When it was released in 2004, I thought the movie had great special effects, good acting, but a logic-defying plotline – now, I feel like it was more of a Hollywood version of a documentary predicting where we're heading. Rapidly.
Black is used to Red's love of movies, and the occasional analogies to real-life (and often rolls her eyes at them), but couldn't help but think that it was only two years later, in 2006, that Vice President Al Gore was behind the documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." While many people questioned the seriousness (and timeline) of climate change, Black asked herself, "What if it was the reason for the rapidly changing weather patterns?" And that if we did nothing (which she often explains is a decision – a decision to maintain the status quo), we might find ourselves in a dire situation. One that could've been avoided.
We aren't experts, but there's no ignoring the United Nations report (technically, it was issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists convened by the United Nations) that forecasts a potentially extremely dire situation within the next few decades. It explains how the dramatic and catastrophic weather events we've seen in the last few years aren't coincidences but rather a harbinger of things to come.
Regardless of what you may have thought before, it's becoming harder and harder to deny the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change and what we've already seen in our lifetime (National Geographic has a library of climate change articles). The key's not only talking about it … but doing something about it. Yes, governments need to take action, but as individuals, we can do our share. And even though cars are part of the problem, Black can't help but have a racing analogy,
When you race, there is not much you can do about the next corner because it is coming too quickly. It is a commitment you have already made. You see it in your peripheral vision, but you are focused on the things you can change. On the next lap, you focus on improving what you did last time. But, if you find yourself heading straight toward a wall, you quickly slow down and steer away. We are heading toward a climate change wall – at full speed – and need to take control of the wheel. Immediately!
Happy Meals. Lasik surgery. A Supreme Court justice. Any idea what these three things have in common?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as a week-long event, Red, the straight-A student and lover of history, is a bit embarrassed that she didn't know about it, but the theater major in her realizes they're under-represented (and misrepresented) in the movies. When we talked about the comparison of "In The Heights" to "West Side Story," Black wasn't only focused on the business aspects but also how it reflects the times, and now is interested in the many contributions (including patents) made by Latinx, and the need for inclusion and diversity.
P.S. – We were both curious why the month-long celebration begins mid-month (September 15) and discovered it's in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries.
Can something be "new" if it's made with "old" ingredients?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black's fascinated by the business and marketing aspects of food mash-ups (especially the multi-generational angle), while Red's excited that her beloved Dunkin' has collaborated with Post Cereals and there's now Dunkin' cereal (and both of us love the tag line, "Now you can have your coffee and eat it, too!). Funny thing is that we've all probably been doing our own "mash-ups" for years (ok, maybe not Black).
As the song says, "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air on Broadway" … and now it's all coming back!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although we live in Texas, we're originally from New York, and as different as we are, one thing we have in common is a love of Broadway, so we're excited about the re-opening of Broadway, even if for very different reasons.
For Red, the re-opening of Broadway's a return to better times, and even if she doesn't get to New York soon, it reminds her of falling in love with the theater – from Shakespeare to musicals, dramas to comedies – and why she majored in it at college. Yet her introduction to Broadway, which was less than 30 miles from where we grew up on Long Island, started thousands of miles away in London. At the time, Black was attending (not sure "studying" would be an accurate description) London Business School for the final semester of her M.B.A., and as Red's 16th birthday gift had her visit for a few weeks.
On one of Red's first nights in London, Black took her to the West End to see "The Crucifer of Blood" at the Haymarket (its "proper" name is the Theatre Royal Haymarket and to this day remains Red's favorite theater) starring Keith Michell. Red had avidly watched him years prior as he portrayed Henry VIII in the Masterpiece Theater series, and that night, she watched him play Sherlock Holmes on stage and,
I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Watching a live performance was magical and inspiring, and I felt like it brought all of us in the audience together. There's something very powerful about the theater "experience", and although there'll be various safety precautions, I'm excited Broadway's coming back. And I'd love to see Six, the acclaimed British musical about the six wives of Henry VIII, which was hours from its first-night opening when theaters closed.
Black remembers the first Broadway show she ever saw, Finian's Rainbow, when she was about 10-years-old. She hated it because she thought the storyline was far-fetched, and people didn't just break out in song for no apparent reason. (Obviously, she's always been pragmatic.)
Years later, Black was pursuing her M.B.A. at New York University, took an accounting class from one of the Shubert Organization founders, and was introduced to the business side of theater and immediately took an active interest. First in the history of what made Broadway, Broadway, and then she started going to the Broadway "hits" to understand what the market wanted. Looking at how Broadway continually seemed to reinvent itself to survive (there's a soon-to-be-released documentary, "On Broadway"), although it will face daunting financial odds.
And now that reinvention will include the recently signed "New Deal" where the theater industry itself (theater owners, producers, creatives, casting directors, even union leaders) has committed to reforms that will ensure equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging. Of course, Black can't help but point out the elephant in the room (or is it the elephant on stage?),
Broadway has long been known as "The Great White Way," and although it was because of all the electric white lights on the theatre marquees and billboards, there is a "politically incorrect" connotation to that phrase. However, the Broadway that closed in March 2020 will be very different when it reopens … and hopefully will be the beginning of a strong season and a bright future.