Thursday, July 19, 2018


 I bumped into them a few months ago on a night I was restless, looking for a film or a rerun of Friends or Seinfeld.

Wow! What I saw and heard got me laughing. These guys seemed so real, quirky, flawed, smart --  what seemed to be important to each of them interested me. I watched it the next night, and then the  next night. For the past few months, just about every evening, after browsing around for news that I haven't heard, I tune in this show.

That there's no TV punch lines, no intonation to setup up a laugh, that scenes start and end unexpectedly, out of sequence, that plot things are never explained -- they just make sense -- and what these people are involved with -- even science stuff that I know very little about -- is intriguing.

 Amy often amazes me  (her acting's exceptionally inventive). I get annoyed with Penny, (gorgeous, constantly sipping liquor), wishing she showed more affection for the passionately honest, somewhat boring Leonard, (affection she has for the marvelously irritating, brilliant Sheldon) -- Sheldon's sort of the star of the show. And tiny, tinny-sounding Bernadette, sharp, smart, down-to earth and divertingly voluptuous, whose her lover/husband Howard (another remarkably inventive actor) struggles with a domineering (unseen) Jewish Mom, and flirts with Raj, who's from India, in and out of love constantly, surprising us with his realistic views.

Guys, this is NOT a critque -- it's a love letter to the show's creators, Chuck Lorre  and Bill Prady, wise, intuitive, skilled grownups, who know instinctively, factually, dramatically what was and is affecting everything that's going on in our country.

Will I be watching six months from now?  Will how these characters mature -- their conflicts, goals, personal and professional happenstance, still intrigue me?

 Maybe. There's nothing else like this show on television. Even if I get somewhat bored, there's the opening theme -- this fantastic vision of the evolution of the world that astounds and delights me every time I see it, that's worth seeing again, and again, and yes -- again.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Emily asks her husband a rather tricky question -- would his child-self approve, applaud what he's become?

Struggling to answer her, John finds himself telling his wife something about himself that surprises her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Our huge response to the wedding of Harry and Mehgan, the "Younger Generation of the Royals" got my attention, but I wasn't hooked on it the way I'm hooked on "London Bridge Is Down." That's the phrase in England for "D" day, the day the Queen dies -- the code name for her is "Mrs. Robinson." There are meticulous details for "D+1, D+2 and each day day after Mrs. Robinson leaves the world.

The planners envisage her passing away after a short illness. The doctor who controls access to her room will determine what information will be in bulletins. The Queen's secretary will inform the prime minister; bulletins will be sent to governors and prime ministers of 15 governments outside the UK and 36 other nations in the commonwealth who will be advised to wear black armbands 3'3/4" wide on the left arm. The Guardian and the The London Times have 11 days of coverage prepared. Sky News and International Television News experts have already rehearsed what they'll say about her final hours.

No matter where she is at the end of her life, the coffin will be taken to Buckingham Palace on the Royal Train. As the train progresses, people will throw flowers, bells will toll, flags will be lowered. On D+1 the central window on the palace balcony will be removed. After rituals and three blasts from Trumpeters, Charles will appear. The current Garter King of Arms will proclaim Charles as King Charles III, followed by a 41 gun salute, 7 minutes of artillery.

On D+2 and the next 9 days, Westminster Hall will be cleaned. Hundreds of candles will be positioned. Guard rails along the route will be put up. Traffic lights will be removed. Ten pallbearers will be chosen and begin practicing. Programming on BBC will be changed -- comedy and satire moved to BBC2. The Queen will be buried in a lead-lined coffin, weighing more than a quarter a ton.

On D +4, the orb, scepter, and imperial crown will be placed. With Charles leading the mourners, there will be a huge Military parade with the Royal Navy, Beefeaters, and Gurkhas Indian soldiers taking part. Four soldiers will stand guard for 20 minutes at a time, as people stream past the Queen for 23 hours a day, in a line that will be more than four miles long. Every day wreathes on the coffin will be renewed.

Before dawn on D+9 (the day of the funeral) the jewels on the orb, scepter, and crown will be cleaned. Shops, stock market, and most of the country will be on a day off. There will be memorial services in various soccer stadiums. Members of the royal family will arrive unannounced. Children and grandchildren (including women for the first time), will arrive at 9 a.m. Big Ben, hammer covered with leather pad, will ring with muffled tones.

Inside the hall there will be 2000 guests. No cameras will be visible. At 1 p.m. the country falls silent. Buses, cars, railroads stop. Inside the Abby, the Archbishop will speak. Pallbearers will place the coffin on the green gun carriage that was used for the Queen's father, and it will be pulled by 138 junior sailors. This procession, on the mall, will travel the 23 miles from Westminster Hall to Winslow Castle, where the royal household will be waiting.

Cameras will stop broadcasting. The lift to the royal vault will descend. Then, finally, King Charles III will reach into a silver bow and drop a handful or red earth from it onto the coffin.

The coffin will descend.

I think we will feel this death and mourn her as a beloved ruler, deeply affecting our culture as well as the world. Who in America is, for us, like the Queen? I will always remember -- never forget -- the day Barack Obama was chosen to be a candidate, the huzzahs, the huge, incredibly excited, marvelously massive crowd celebrating. Will we ever feel that way again? Since the election, for me, my beautiful America -- amber waves, purple mountains, power, glory, land of the free with her welcoming arms -- has changed. Will it ever be beautiful in that way again to us again?

What will happen in London hasn't been seen in London since the death of Winston Churchill back in 1965. Perhaps, like the UK Guardian says, "The Queen is perhaps the U.K.'s last living link to the nation's former great power."

I guess that's why I'm writing about "London Bridge is down" and Mrs. Robinson leaving the world.

My blog is based on an article by Sam Night, in UKGuardian, March 2017.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


I want to head for Geneva, Switzerland, and visit the small town on its outskirts, and see the Hadron Collider.

It sounds like an odd thing for the Cullums to be doing, but I've researched and written about it ever since 2012 when the Hadron Collider detected the "Higgs boson." Creating headlines all over the world, scientist Peter Higgs proved that there's one elementary particle, a "God Particle," that gives everything in the universe its mass. And also, everything about this topic fascinates my husband, actor John Cullum, who reads and re reads books by Stephen Hawking about black holes and the big bang.

Here's a photo of the Collider.
Note the tiny figure at the bottom in a dark jacket and brown pants, and you'll get a sense of the size of the world's most powerful accelerator. It's mammoth, overwhelmingly huge. Is it dangerous? A visitor receives less radiation than he'd get from dental Xrays.

Near the collider are live video feeds and a plaque summarizing its lofty mission: “To advance human knowledge, to continue an endless quest to learn where we come from and why the Universe is as we see it today.” Just beyond the plaque is the accelerator's tunnel.
Though this 17-mile tunnel, the accelerator sends "subatomic protons" racing in an opposite direction, getting them to move faster until they're moving nearly at the speed of light. When the particles collide, they create tiny fireballs of pure energy. Doing this, scientists re-created the Big Bang and proved that the one particle Higgs measured and photographed forty years ago which showed it occurred at the same place, same time -- the "God Particle" -- does in fact, occur at the same place with each test.

Here's a photo of the "God Particle."

If I go to Geneva, will I continue to wonder, "Does the Higgs boson prove God created the world?"

We can't go there this year -- we're still dealing with Con Edison and renovating to get approval for using gas appliances, but maybe next year, or the year after. Someday, I've got to see the Hadron Collider, and find out ... feel out for myself what it means.