12-09-10 A Reading from Sedaris, I Love You and Rabbi Shmuley

In case you missed it...

Rosie started today's broadcast referring back to the whole "nightshirt debacle."  If you aren't familiar, Rosie chose to wear a nightshirt with socks to Blake's birthday party and her friend Jackie made fun of her for it and told her she was being totally inappropriate.  Last night Rosie picked out some pajamas and wore those around the house.  She said no one around the house commented on her new choice in outfits.  It made her wonder....hmmmmmmm. 

Rosie then read an excerpt from the David Sedaris book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. One particular story, about a bear that lost her mother, particularly spoke to Rosie and she wanted everyone to hear it.  She said the book itself is so relatable and brilliant and this one particular story wrecked her. 

Rosie then read a short story from his new book.  She invited listeners to call in to the show if they're also moved by the story.  I'm not doing it justice, but the story was about about a bear who lost her mother who never really got over it.  She kept getting  a lot of sympathy for her mother's death when she first died and then she became almost addicted to the sympathy and couldn't let it go.  The bear ate to feel better and became very fat.  One day, the bear saw a captured male bear who was chained and used in a circus-type capacity.  The little bear went up to the male bear and told him her story of losing her mother.  The male bear told her that he has no teeth, maggots in his knees, he hasn't eaten solid food in months and has a broken right foot.  The man came back and captured the female bear too and made the bear so it couldn't really tell its story though she kept trying for the rest of her days in captivity. 

Rosie and the staff discussed the tale.  The part in the story where David says the bear continues to tell her sad story "to allow her to once again feel tragic" really resonated with Janette.  She said what makes it a great parable is because it is speaking about universal truths.  Rosie understood how it was to the bear's advantage to "play the dead mother card."  She too got a lot of attention because her mother died when she was young.  Rosie said finding out about what her ancestors went through recently when she was filming Who Do You Think You Are? gave her perspective on her own life.  She said everyone in life has a story that can break your heart.  

Janette said the great thing is you can rewrite your story and not allow your life history to rule your future.  Janette said sometimes you can keep reliving a story from your past that perpetuates your unhappiness and there's sometimes security in that.  Janette said she used her miserable childhood as the repeating story in her life until she was willing to let go of it.

Rosie took a call from a listener who lost her mom when she was 8 very suddenly.  She told Rosie that she wasn't like the bear at all because she was able to make the best of her life despite the tragedy of her childhood.  The caller's sister has become a prisoner of her own past pain and cannot find the satisfaction in life beyond the pain.  Rosie saw the tale as a foreboding warning to remind her not to get stuck in the sorrow.  Rosie and the caller discussed how it felt when their kids became the age they were when they lost their mothers.  They both admitted to being very overprotective mothers and they discussed the book Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman.  Rosie told the caller she was going to send her the Sedaris book and thanked her for calling in.   

Janette thought the value of the story was not to point out who among us is like the bear but how everyone has the bear is in all of us.  Rosie's girlfriend Tracy has asked Rosie how she's going to let her mother dying be the defining story of her life because she's had so many wonderful defining stories in her life too.  Rosie wondered how you change the programming in your mind.  Janette recommended the book 365 ThankYous: the Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life to Rosie and listeners. In the book the writer talks about how writing a thank you letter everyday for a year changed his life.  Rosie said writing a thank you letter to Steve Leeds at MTV is the reason she got the job at VH1 that really kicked off her entire career.  Deirdre was really touched by the story and was crying.  She was so hurt at the thought that some children must grow up without a mother.  Rosie said dying and leaving her kids behind has always been a fear of hers and when she got her staph infection in her hand she was convinced she was going to die.  She didn't care if they amputated her hand she just didn't want to die and leave her kids behind and repeat the same story of her own life. 

Janette said the point of the story is to not totally go to those sad stories of your past and let them rule your life.  She recommended the books Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want In Your Life and You Can Heal Your Life which she said changed her life completely after reading them.  Two of the daily affirmations she forced herself to say was "I love myself and I forgive myself" and then her subconscious started to believe it.  Someone in the studio also mentioned another one of David Sedaris's books entitled Me Talk Pretty One Day and Rosie said she really wants to have David as a guest on the show.  She said her friend Jackie is a huge fan of David's and she is only allowed to come meet him if she wears her pajamas. 

Rosie wanted to know what the "I love you" norms were for everyone in their families growing up.  Brendan's family never ends a phone-call without saying "I love you" and he's Irish!  I'm Irish and I do the same thing.  This is apparently strange for people of Irish decent?  Rosie said the first time she ever heard anyone say "I love you" was at her good friend Jackie's house.  She said no one ever, ever said "I love you" in her house growing up.  And Pat Maravel was the first person to ever say it to her.  Pat was the public school teacher who really cared for Rosie after her mother died.  The first time Rosie ever said "I love you" was to Lucie Arnaz when she met her outside the stage door after one of her performances.  James's parents always said "I love you" to him because they both grew up where no one ever said "I love you."  Rosie says "I love you" to her kids so much so they say back to "Yeah, we know Mom!"  She thinks she may say it too much to them!  Deirdre wondered if saying "I love you" (or the lack of saying it) was a generational or cultural difference.  Deirdre's parents told her all the time that they loved her but both have said no one ever really said it in their homes growing up.  Janette never heard "I love you" in a simple way.  It was more "Other people don't tell you XYZ and I'm telling you this because I love you."  Janette wished her father would "love" her a little less sometimes.  But Janette and her boyfriend Barry say "I love you" to each other a million times a day. 

Rosie said when she first said "I love you" to Janette it was like giving a starving person water.  Rosie and Janette have been friends for almost 24 years!  When Janette finally told Rosie she loved her she cried after saying it.  Rosie told her Nana that she loved her in the hospital when she was dying and her Nana said back to her, "I love you too, Doll."  That was one of the hardest things Rosie said she's ever done and she remembers going back to her car and crying afterward. 

Rosie took a call (from a trucker) who broke her foot when she was 29 and called her mom to tell her.  She was on the phone with her mom and started crying and her husband asked her why.  She said it was the first time she could ever remember her mother saying "I love you."  She and her older sister made a pact that they would never ever let that continue and they would always tell their children they loved them.  And they have.   Another caller whose mom came from Ireland (again with the Irish) never said "I love you" but she was a very generous and loving person.  The caller lost her baby on Christmas Eve when she was 29 weeks pregnant and came home from the hospital and told her mom she loved her.  Her mom just hugged her tight but couldn't say it back.  The caller said it wasn't how her mother was brought up.  Rosie wished she could give that gift to her mom - the gift of someone telling her they loved her everyday.  Rosie then gave the caller $711 from Seven Eleven and the caller gave it back to Rosie and asked her to donate it to her charity.  Rosie was so touched.  She sent the caller a Rosie swag bag too. 

Rosie said after September 11th she didn't think she'd ever be able to go back on television but she did.  She had a Superkid on the show not long after returning to TV.  The SuperKid segment on The Rosie O'Donnell Show highlighted a kid achieving greatly despite the many challenges faced in their lives.  Kellogg's gave the Superkid a scholarship to college.  After 9/11, the Superkid they had on wanted to take half of her scholarship and donate it back to the 9/11 Survivors Fund.  Rosie was wrecked and had to cut to commercial. She said sometimes her own emotions incapacitate her.  Janette said that was the only time she ever saw Rosie really lose it on television.  Rosie said emotions were so raw after 9/11 and the girl's gift was so pure and so innocent it made her weak.  (Watch part of that episode HERE at the 3:15 mark.)  Janette said it's always special when you see human beauty in the midst of darkness.   

Rosie briefly mentioned an interview Oprah did with Barbara Walters that airs tonight where she talks about her love and appreciation for Gayle.  She said it was the reason they did the "I love you Segment" on today's broadcast.  You can read about that HERE and see the interview tonight at 9pm EST on ABC. 

Then it was time for the staff to talk about how Romaine (the co-host from The Derek and Romaine Show on OutQ radio) is handing their asses to them in the craft contest.  Pete first said Romaine's entry "is shit" (and then he took it back).  Bobby and Rosie said Romaine's craft is pretty, unique and art!  Pete still thought Lou's was better.  Brendan hated to say it but he had to blame the listeners for why Rosie Radio wasn't winning!  He pleaded with the listeners to do something about the injustice!!!  Pete said they need to tell listeners to walk up to their computers, open their browsers and declare, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" and vote for Lou's!  Rosie really didn't agree with that and wanted listeners to vote for the craft they like the best and then she proceeded to go online and vote for Romaine's.  Janette went online and voted for Julian Suchman's Christmas Carol. Deirdre said the contest is supposed to be fun and said the staff was taking this way too seriously!  Rosie took a call from a listener who agreed with Rosie and said listeners should vote for the one they like the best.  Rosie called her "lovely" and gave her a $100 giftcard to Borders.  Rosie took another call from a listener who said that Romaine is only doing what Janette did in the pumpkin contest (pleading with her listeners for votes) and there wasn't anything wrong with that.   

Rosie then introduced her friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.   He and Rosie discussed many things including the assassination of John Lennon.  Rabbi Shmuley went to Strawberry Fields last night for the anniversary of his death and he spoke of the beautiful humanity that is shown when remembering John Lennon.  They then discussed  being a celebrity and how isolating it can be.  They discussed Michael Jackson and how isolated he became especially towards the end of his life.   

Rosie said with her celebrity also came the realization that she didn't have the power that she thought it would bring to her.  She thought she'd have the power to help the sick and the poor and to change the world.  Rabbi Shmuley said with fame comes disillusionment and Michael Jackson, though he hated his fame, probably couldn't live without it.  The Rabbi said the sin of our time is the confusion of love and attention.  He said we're forgetting all about love and replacing it with attention.  They discussed teens purposely getting pregnant to get on the MTV show 16 and Pregnant.  Rosie said she had a home for pregnant teens that gave the birth-mothers a wonderful place to live.  They soon realized the girls were getting pregnant again just to come back and live there because they had never experienced love like that before and they had to discontinue it.  Rosie and Shmuley talked about fame and how the dreams of what you thought fame would bring don't really ever come true. 

Rabbi Shmuley said we in the United States have problems we don't want to address.  He said we don't have enough love and that families are falling apart.  We obsess over gay marriage and abortion to distract ourselves from what really is going wrong in families and in our country.  Rabbi Shmuley said he recently wrote a column about gay adoption and got a huge backlash over it! He said to think that people believe that a child would be better off in an orphanage or abandoned rather than be loved by a gay man or woman is absurd to the Rabbi.  It's times like those when he's disappointed in religion and he loves and appreciates his religion so much.  Rosie asked how we can change this way of thinking and Rabbi Shmuley said we need courageous religious leaders to it.  

Rabbi Shmuley has a brother who's gay and is a very Godly man.  A man once came over to him and asked him his name and then told him he's a dog the way he defends gays.  Rabbi Shmuley said the central message of every religion is that we're all created equally in the eyes of God.  He said focusing on anything else is a  distraction from what is really wrong in our families - too much time apart and too much materialism. 

Referring back to the "I love you" segment, Rabbi Shmuley said he knows he's an imperfect father but one thing his children will always know is that he loves them and his love for them is perfect.  He said nothing he gets from life even approximates the joy he gets from his kids. 

Rabbi Shmuley then gave Rosie a piece of jewelry and named her an honorary Jew in honor of the last day of Hanukkah. 
Rabbi Shmuley invited listeners to check out his Turn Friday into Family Night at FridayIsFamily.com

You can come see Rosie and Rabbi Shmuley talk together about the values we need today, family and raising kids, celebrity culture and so much more on December 14th! 

During this game Brendan listed off a song title with the word "love" in it (in honor of the I Love You segment) and the player had to guess the band/singer.

Pete: "Love Me Tender" he guessed Elvis and that was correct.
Janette: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" She didn't know it was Elton John and was out.
Bobby (who is always "right here!"): "I Just Called To Say I Love You" It was Stevie Wonder but he didn't know it and was out.
Rosie: "Love Shack" She knew it was B52s which was correct.
Pete: "I Will Always Love You" he said Whitney Houston which was correct.

Rosie: "Endless Love" she said Lionel Richie which was correct.
Pete: "When A Man Loves A Woman" He guessed The Four Tops which was incorrect. It was Percy Sledge or Michael Bolton.
Rosie won!! 

Just for Fun they went through the rest of the songs...
"Vision of Love" by Mariah Carey.  Rosie got it.
"Crazy In Love" by Beyonce. No one got it.
"You Can't Hurry Love" by the Supremes. Rosie got it.
"It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette but no one got it.
"Baby I Love Your Way" by Peter Frampton and Pete got it.

But in the end Rosie WON!

Rosie closed the show reminding listeners to go to Rosie.com to vote for their favorite craft

and that's what you missed -kw


  1. I loved the Rabbi! He filled me with such love and understanding of what religion and humanity should be. I'm a teacher, and I may be fired, but I told my kids about the menorah and creating a light in the darkness and asked them to spread their light today. I love ya Ro and pals -- you've become my friends, and today you moved me to tears. Oh, if we could all love like that. Do I overuse that word? No doubt people in my life know I feel that way.

  2. hey kelly and rosie radio lovers -
    am i the only one, or do other fans of the show encounter re-runs of the *wrong* show, every couple of months or so? like tonight - i wanted to listen to today's (thursday's) show - which you've recapped here - and so at 11.15 p.m. (central time) i sat down with my iphone sirius app and... it's *tuesday's* show! as much as i laughed my ass off at the pajama-wearing-birthday-jackie-appalled incident, i already heard that! i want to hear rosie & rabbi, etc, from *today*.

    i tried to ring sirius, but customer care (!) closes at 10 p.m. eastern, so no go. when this has happened before, i've ended up speaking with customer service reps in the philippines and finally a supervisor said that when they're doing 'service upgrades' the day's show isn't available (except on stars) - the problem is that i don't know *when* these replacements are going to happen, so i can't plan ahead (yes, i would re-arrange my evening so i could listen to rosie at 8 on stars, if that was my only chance to hear that day's show).

    ok, didn't know where else to share this. grateful for the recap (as always), but frustrated that i can't hear the show that aired today and that sirius just randomly does this replacing the day's show with a different one from time to time. anyone with any pull to speak out and get them to stop this practice that interferes with us serious (no pun intended) rosie radio addicts getting our daily fix?!

    thanks & love,

  3. So often when you "go deep," Rosie and Janette and Deidre and everyone, I feel like I am in the room with you all. I have to tell you, I am a narrative therapist and I'm full-time in doctoral school to become a psychologist (2 more years), and what you so eloquently discussed today, about the stories we tell ourselves and others that define our lives, that IS what narrative therapy investigates and works with.It is transformative, as Janette says, to examine the impact your narrative has on your life.And sometimes, as Rosie has recognized (thanks to Tracey and others who are able to point this out), we can become so identified with one story of our life that it seems we will tell and tell and re-tell...sometimes though it is okay to have that story but not let it rule us.In narrative therapy we find out, when are the times in your life that the story did NOT rule? When did you do something else that deserves attention? What are you in addition to a motherless daughter? I am a bereaved mother.My younger son Ethan lived only 4 1/2 months and was in the NICU in Children's Hospital the whole time, and after his death, a very close friend asked me, "So, are you like going to be a professional bereaved mother now? Is this you?" Wow. I heard that. And I think Tracy was saying that to Rosie about being a motherless daughter. Anyway there's more I could say but I already took up this much space! eeeek! I love you all, very much.

  4. Great show yesterday as always.
    Here I am up at 2:30 am thinking about The Bear story. I can't believe how much it had touched my heart. I am still trying to figure out why it impacted me so much. I guess you are right - we all have a little "Bear" in all of us.
    I wish you the best of luck tonight Rosie - I wish I could be there to see the talk with you and Rabbi Schmuley. I am sure it will be entertaining and really informative, just like your show.
    Merry Christmas to all of you and may the New Year bring us all peace.
    Cheers from Vancouver BC

  5. Rosie Radio is such a gift! Happy Holidays!

  6. i cried when rosie read from sedaris' book.
    i cried when she read eve ensler's speech.
    a lovely rawness in her voice there.