February 5, 2009

But I Don't Think it is...

In A letter posted on Facebook, Bruce Springsteen writes:
A Letter to Our Fans:

We know there was much confusion regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow during last Monday's on-sale dates. We were as confused as you were, as we were given no advance notice of the major changes in the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow world. (Bear in mind that we are not clients of any ticketing company, and that all those arrangements are between venues and ticketing companies.)

Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice.

We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest. Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges. TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.

We know the many cynical arguments some make in favor of the Ticketmaster system: There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges--we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow--we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect "scalping" those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow--we do.

While many of you have sent notes to us and your local promoters, you may also send accurate informational letters to Albert Lopez of Ticketmaster [Albert.Lopez@ticketmaster.com] and he will try to address your questions.

A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives.

The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours.

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team

To view this go to: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=6551&post=26462&uid=7401700249#/topic.php?uid=7401700249&topic=6551&ref=mf

This fan replies:

To Bruce and Jon -

Thank you for your letter and for taking a stand against the abuse of your fans. I too was shut out of Ticketmaster and forced into TicketsNow - who also sent me an email offering me a 5% discount off tickets raised, in some cases, more than 10 times the face value.

In at least one New Jersey paper, The Record of Bergen County, there have been stories that a Paterson Congressman is calling for an investigation regarding Ticketmaster's practices and it's monopoly. It would seem that there is a clear violation of the Federal Trade Agreement as well as an obvious conflict of interest.

As a long-time devoted fan, I can assure you that I did not consider for a moment that Bruce, E-Street or Jon Landau received any profit from this practice. In fact, I reported this to ABC News and told them that while I certainly have not had the privilege of knowing Bruce Springsteen personally, I could not imagine he would support the robbery of his fans.

I have, fortunately, had the privilege of seeing Bruce live several times. For those who haven't, I can assure you it is very near a religious experience. Every show has it's own unique flavor and each show is exhilarating. There is no doubt that it is worth every penny to attend Bruce's shows, in particular when he performs with E-Street. There is also no doubt that Bruce cares for his fans and puts all that he has into giving each and every audience their monies worth. Often I have come away exhausted, with no voice left - and thrilled every time.

Any Bruce fan worth his salt would give you similar feedback on the experience of seeing this legendary artist live. Every fan of Bruce would tell you that there is no chance at all that Bruce would favor or support the actions of Ticketmaster.

All that I can hope for at this point is that Bruce and E-Street will follow recent tour practices and return to New Jersey at the end of the tour. Hopefully, the issues with TIcketmaster will have been cleared up and those of us who were shut out this time will get lucky then.

As a last comment, I can tell you that if I wanted to pay more than $500 for two people to see Bruce from behind the stage, I would have simply gone to Ebay! Plenty of seats there, as there still appears to be plenty of seats on TicketsNow - so long as you have an income similar to Bruce's to afford it.

Thanks again, Bruce and Jon. It is good to have yet another confirmation of your decency and loyalty to those who are so loyal to you.

Eileen Miller

For those who wish to join the fight against this practice, see the story in The Record which also provides contact information for those who actually have the power and ability to put a stop to Ticketmaster's illegal and immoral practices.


This story also points out that TicketMaster is now working to merge with LiveNation, which creates a monopoly that benefits no one save the coffers of TicketMaster.

Maybe it's me, but I think this is a fight worth fighting. Concerts and other entertainment events should not be solely for the wealthy. It has already become nearly impossible for fans to take their kids to a football game, a hockey game - and baseball is on it's way as well. Add the cost of the tickets, the parking, and the outrageous cost of a dog and a soda, and most of us just give up. In every area of our lives, the working class is struggling. A moment comes for a short reprieve from the struggle, a moment to enjoy a legendary artist - and that working class is taken to the cleaners. While that certainly is not a new situation, the Ticketmaster fiasco is.

This is not an event to sit by and be angry - this is a time to make your voice heard. It is a time for Bruce to make his voice heard, and so he has.

January 23, 2009

...But Sometimes Things Just Turn Out Right

It could be me, but sometimes - when you least expect it - something amazing can happen.

In recent days I have seen truly amazing things, not the least of which is America electing a man for who he is and not because of his name or how he looks. This was an answer to my prayers. Finally a leader that I feel I can believe in. Time will tell, and he may not be able to do all the great things he'd like, but I think Barack Obama will mark our history in wonderful ways.

But I digress...

Some of those who know me are aware of the story I am about to share. Some are not. For those of you who may be a little shocked, I apologize. I hope you will understand why I kept things to my self.

I would like to introduce all those who count themselves our friend to Adam Ryan. Adam is my son. He is a wonderful young man, now 22 years old. Adam is a student at Rochester Institute, he is a truly talented guy studying fine art photography. As an aside, I think many would have come to at least know his name through his photos some day. He has a great sense of humor, an amazing view of the world and an astounding open mind. It is my hope that you will all come to know him and welcome him into our lives.

So here's the story:

Some 23 years ago, during my first marriage, we conceived a third child. We were already in financial ruin, and could barely take care of ourselves and Jillian and Christopher, who were still babies. (Let me quickly note here as I have always said, God has a sense of humor, and Adam was conceived despite birth control.)

I had pretty strong beliefs on the issue of abortion and could not consider that notion. But I also had no idea how I was going to be able to care for another baby. It was suggested to us that we consider placing the baby for adoption. Turns out it was a good suggestion.

I can tell you that I never discussed this. Giving Adam up was a source of horrible pain for me. I could not bear to think of him through the shame and guilt I felt all those years. I never wanted anyone to know I had allowed such a terrible thing to happen. To be honest, I was also horrified at what people may think of me - that I would not have the respect of those I love and respect.

Of course, my family has always known. I did not share this with my husband's family until recently - when I had too. When my children were old enough to understand I began to discuss this with them. I would never have sought to find Adam, only he had the right to make that contact -- but I wasn't hiding from him either. There was always a possibility that he may want to find me (if he knew that I existed), though I did not dare to hope for that. I think that, despite how hard this was for me, it may have been harder for Christopher. He has longed to know his little brother for many years. Another reason for me to feel badly. No mother wants to hurt her children.

Last September my estranged mother made a bad decision. She decided to make contact with Adam and to put him in direct contact with Christopher. This was not discussed with me. We were not given a choice. It is a shame to say it, but it was done as an act of vengeance against me because I would not speak to her. (This may help people to understand why it is that I am estranged from my own mother.) Unfortunately, the contact was made under a dishonest story told to Adam's adopted Mom. It was a terrible thing to do and it was done at the risk of ruining lives. Ours and Adams life. We had no knowledge of what Adam did or did not know. I was not even sure if he was aware that he was an adopted child. You can imagine that this turned our world upside down.

We were given direct links to Adam's MySpace page. Though I was nearly hysterical, I could not fight the need to see that page. And there he was, pictures laid out before me of a son I never thought I would see again. I began to read about him and was surprised to see a message posted on his front page: Who I'd like to meet: -my biological parents. This was followed by a request:
Also, should anyone run across someone who looks like me, I would really appreciate you asking his name. If his name is "Christopher Duffy," then you've likely found my long lost brother. Please keep an eye out :). So it turns out that Adam was fully aware.

I knew that he was told we were sent that link. I sent him an email through his MySpace apologizing that the right to open this door had been taken from him (and from me). I received an email in return very quickly. I don't think Adam would mind if I share that with you. It will tell you just how amazing he is:

Eileen, mother,

Please don't apologize. There is no need to. I know you made a promise to not contact me, but I had already begun an investigation to find you. Ironically, this saved me a lot of time. I had always planned on finding you, and after I turned 21 I decided to take it more seriously.

I am not unhappy at all by being contacted. I need you to know that I bear you no ill will. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. I love you. I care about you greatly.

Never once have I felt hatred for you. Never once have I felt that I was abandoned. It has always been my intention to find you, and if possible, have a relationship with you. I have always believed that you feel the same. The letter you wrote to my mom was all the evidence I needed. I still have that letter by the way. My mom was gracious enough to allow me to keep it, because it has been the only piece of you that I've ever known.

My mom called me a few hours ago, letting me know that my biological grandmother called. I learned some of what has happened since my adoption was made final. I have learned that you are not on speaking terms with my grandmother. I know nothing about what has happened in your (my) family, but please do not hold this against her.

I am excited to speak with you. Please know that it brings me nothing but happiness to think I'm talking with the woman who gave me life.

There are many things we have to say to each other.


I think it's easy for anyone who knows me to imagine the tears this letter brought.

We began to email regularly, and that was followed by chatting online. Some months later, when Adam was ready, we finally talked on the phone. Over the Thanksgiving holiday we finally met. Adam, myself, Jillian and Chris spent a long day and night talking, looking at pictures, laughing, and simply getting to know each other.

Those who'd like to see pictures, feel free to check out the albums on my Facebook page.

Adam came again for a visit at Christmas and during that visit met my brothers and sister as well as my parents. I was worried for him that he might feel awkward at first. But if he did, he hid it well. It was a good day to be sure.

Adam is extremely busy at school. We don't get to talk as much as I'd like. Yet I know he will be coming back again in March at his break and look forward to it with happiness.

The point of all of this is to tell you this: even when someone takes your choices away from you, does something designed to hurt you - it just might backfire and turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.

I am healing well and after all those years, finally at peace. I know that despite how hard it was, it was truly a good thing. Adam has had an incredible, wonderful life raised by a loving and remarkable woman. She has my heart, always, for the gift she has given in sharing Adam with us.

January 21, 2009

The Facebook War

Maybe it's me, but your Facebook status message might just start something...

Note: My friend (TWD) posted a status update on Facebook last night that caused a few of her friends to post comments that left me disappointed and surprised. Needless to say (and those of you who know me, know it's true) I just couldn't let it go...
(I've only placed initials here, in the interest of not publicly embarrassing people.)

TWD: thinks it is totally inappropriate for the people at the to be "booing" the outgoing President Bush!

CCH: Uggh!! People may not have agreed with everything he did or didn't do...but, in my opinion...he did have a rough Presidency (9/11; Katrina; and this economy is the result of another President's actions!!!) I hope Obama can make good on all the promises he's given

GOM: Teresa and Carolyn, you both got it right.. The people who booed GW on this day have no class, and never will..

Eileen: I mean no offense here but when Bill Clinton left office we were realizing a boom economy. 9/11 was badly handled by Bush and Katrina was a disgrace - also a direct result of Bush's inability to react properly for all people instead of just his rich buddies. Not to mention a private war based on lies, impeachable and prosecutable offenses that went unpunished. W goes down in history as the worst president the USA has ever seen and we barely survived him. I dont believe in "booing" any president - but I can understand the sentiment. I understand how you feel but can you at least understand the frustration, loss of homes, jobs, and even loved ones who serve in a war based on lies of those - some 53% of this country - who are not only glad but deeply relieved to see W just GO AWAY - it takes more than this to judge a persons class. It has far more to do with loyalty and patriotism to hold your frustration and not boo. I am faithful to my country, my soldiers and my fellow middle class "folks". I did not "boo", but I did shed tears of relief that we somehow made it through his horrible administration. Name one decent and HONEST thing that man did. BTW is your phone bugged?

DB: There shouldnt be any booing in that setting. He is leaving the Position. I didnt like him, but I give him the respect that the position demands. Short term he kept our country safe. I truly believe it was his evil supporting staff that led Bush down the wrong paths.

GOM: Is there a fox like left channel for the democrats I don't know about?
talking point's anyone? rose colored glasses for all. Is BO a DIETY or JUST another democrat? history will tell. If he's the later were in big trouble! Keep bashing GW its good practice for the future..

Eileen: Okay, I NEVER watch Fox and I am married to a newspaper editor. I don't think anyone here claimed our President is among the Gods. Why is it that the right wing never admits to it's errors? That's a good case of rose colored glasses for you. No one needs to wait for the future to bash GW. Take a good look around you. And furthermore, it's "latter" not "later". I guess you wanted that fool Palin in office too! PS - gave you plenty of talking points which I notice you have no answer for...
(It should be noted here that Fox is not "news" and is so far right-leaning that no decent democrat would watch anyway.)

GOM: yings alll goood rounddd heree every ting loooks goood tanks fer da speiin lessoon.... I get GW bad !obama will save the world. And I hope he does. No other president has ever promised what Obama has ,I mean its about time.really no other?

Eileen: Case closed... obviously. And here I was hoping for an intelligent argument.

GOM: You WIN Eileen next to impossible to defend GW.HOWEVER there is no excuse for booing GW On his last day NONE! Well there is one excuse no class......case closed. Teresa 's point about the booing is what I was responding to... Good or bad he served this country.. case closed..

Eileen: As I said earlier, I do not believe in booing a president, any president - and you are right, they serve this country in an office that should be respected. However, I will not refer to those who did as "classless". Again, it has nothing to with class. I don't know you but I wonder how the GW presidency affected you or those you care about. Many have lost all they worked for or someone they love, which is of course, far more important. I can have empathy for them and not insult them by referring to them as classless. Again, no offense, but it felt like you were escalating it to the insult level. I don't sit still for that, especially when the insult is hurled in my direction. Teresa is one of my dearest friends, as is Joe - and a big part of that is that we all have the ability to see different points of view. That's why it's called "opinion". We all get to have one. God bless America. I hope you will show the same respect for our current president.

GOM: was not insulting you Eileen, and if I did I'm sorry. I guess some, OK a lot of people feel GW did "no good" And I believe he did some good? Eileen I did not vote for GW the second time a round And wish he had lost that election. I will respect BO, and if half of what he talks about happens better for us. The expectations are very high and if he's just another politician the damage will be much worse than anything GW did. And I guess that scares me.

JMG: Eileen, Thank you for speaking for the soldiers and their families. I assume you most have some close family members and friends who have been affected by the War on Terrorisms for the last 19 years as Garry indeed does! He has taken me into his home during a high risk pregnancy while my husband fought terrorisms! He has watched me fight a disease alone while my husband ran for cover on Christmas in a sandy land! He has heard my stories of the wounded I spent time with while my son was a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The funny thing is most of the people who are directly affect by it are not the one complaining, the widows are proud of what their Hero’s have done and we applaud our Commander in Chief. The out going and the in coming. Its called respect. PS. You would be surprise what you would hear about the people over “there” and we have done for them and not just the war. I am proud to say my husband is known as “Mr. Uncle Doug” to children who once thought all American’s are evil. Thank you GW!! Spell Check please as my hubby is away again and he usually does it for me!

Eileen: Hi Jennifer - I am an Army brat whose father served this country for 36 years. In a few weeks my Dad will be honored at a military ball in South Jersey as he has been named Executive Officer for our retired military personnel. I am extremely proud of my father's service - and of all servicemen and women. While they may not always agree with what they are sent to do - they serve with dignity and honor. They are a blessing to us all - including the men, women and children in foreign lands that are lucky enough to meet them and be served by them.

I would like to add here that I would not dare to speak for the military service men and women or their families. I will defend them to the end but can't speak for their feelings. I do not think that I attempted to offer their opinions... merely my own.

JMG: God Bless your father. Again let the people military personnel speak for themselves they can and do. Most I know are sick of people speaking on how the war is affecting them and their family. We know how it affects us now as you know how your father’s time affected you. We can also get out we we're not drafted. I know they are at times calling people back now but they knew what they signed up for, if they didn’t shame on their parents. I say WE because when I married my husband my Marine Corp. Korean Vet father let me know what I was signing up for.

Eileen: Hi Jennifer. I'd just like to add that I don't think it's necessary to thank "W" for what your husband and the many service personnel have done in Iraq or Afghanistan. I think we should thank your husband and the others. It is them who make Americans look good. W has done little to garner respect in or out of America, but has done plenty to damage it. The people of our country, and hopefully our new president, are now in charge of our destiny and worldwide opinion of us.

GOM: My COPY Editor neighbour just lost his job. Filled me in how bad the newspaper business is doing. He said the internet has destroyed the paper business.Eileen you came to mind so asked him ,if GW was to blame for his layoff ,and he said yes??? Hope all is well at your husbands paper. Did people stop buying papers because of the bad economy? Your father served, thank him for me. And plz if you haven't already ask him what he thinks about booing the out going president on inauguration day.

JMG: Being President is not an easy job, especially at a time of war and trouble. I believe the Bushes are good people regardless of what I think of his policies and I Thank him and his Family for their Service to OUR Country as I thank your father and any other Vet. No one wants blood on their hands. Have read any presidents memoirs? It’s easy to judge the job we think they’ve done without all the facts. I know from folks who have been over sea’s that not all the facts are reported. I know form personal experience this too. I know this.. Since 9/11 we have not been attacked again, I know we have people who have wanted to. So someone did something right. Let’s hope it stays that way. Eileen you are a gifted writer please make use of your Dad’s ID card and go to Walter Reed and see the Soldiers there ask them how it makes them feel when they read the story’s about “them” in the papers. And write about it. Thanks. eresa Thanks for the space!
I’m done here Thanks for the space! God Bless America that we can all have different opinions and share them. No matter how they make other people feel. There are place’s in the world people get shot for that. Sad but true. I am glad my husband is willing to put his life on line so everyone can have the American Dream of talking bad about there leader and living to tell about it! Democracy Rocks!

Eileen: Hi Garry - thanks for your comment. My husband (Gary) and I both count ourselves blessed that we have held ours jobs and home in a time when so many havent. Newspapers are hit badly - but the hit the take is due to lack of ad sales (a direct result of the economy) not because people stop buying the paper. I will pass on your thanks to my Dad with pleasure - and I can tell you that his teachings are the reason that - regardless of my feelings - I would not boo any president. He would never approve of that.

Eileen: Hi Jennifer - Thank you very much. Yes, I have read presidential memiors and I know it's a terrible job that takes a terrible toll on the men who have held it. It is good that we all have a chance to express opinions and share ideas - and no doubt Democracy Rocks - Hard Core! I am sorry if my opinion hurts your feelings - but I can not support W, in writing or in person. I stand by what I've said. No other president in history has done so much to break laws and violate civil rights. Clinton was up for impeachment for a sexual act - W got away with far too much more than that. Anyway, thanks again - and thanks to you "T" - ya know I love ya!

I struggle to understand how -- on what may have been the most historic day in our lifetimes -- that a handful of hecklers booing the outgoing president is what someone would take from the day.

I sat with new grandson in my arms and watched an incredible man make history. I don't mind admitting that I was among those with tears of joy in my eyes and great pride in my heart. I will tell Brody when he is older how he watched America come full circle in my lap. I will tell him how we put his hand over his heart and stood proud to hear the national anthem. I will tell him how that day was met with so much relief. Millions watched with joyous tears and hearts full of hope. That's worth remembering.