Saturday, December 3, 2016


IS fitness tracking helpful?

Sure! Having a tracker helps, like wearing a nice outfit helps, and taking a quick look at the tracker is a way of encouraging yourself to keep going. The most expensive one is $849; a more typical, less expensive tracker will help too. ($29.00 to $89.99).

Even so, the manufacturers of FixBit, (one of the most popular trackers), says that only 10% of the purchasers wear it for a year.

The fact is, the tracker just helps you stick to your exercise routine. No matter what you do to keep in shape, the repeated routines get boring. Based on my background as an ex-dancer who stays in shape, I think you need to find a way to make each exercise session special.

My husband, John Cullum, hates exercise. He vocalizes, when he's getting ready to perform as a singer; he rehearses the lines for a play and exercises that part of his brain, but physical exercise -- abs, stretches, jogging, biking, weight-lifting -- none of that stuff is for him.

Sometimes he shops for groceries. We live on the 4th floor. There's no elevator; the stairs tire him. Maybe he'd be less tired if he exercised his stair-climbing muscles. He could do the stairs while holding in his abs; or climb the stairs with his shoulders arched back. He might try standing extra tall, or raising each knee as high as possible as he climbs; he could try holding the banister for one step, and not holding for the next step. Any of these simple physical things might make stair-climbing easier, and become a way of exercising that's not boring.

With or without a fitness tracker, I'm suggesting that you review what you do every day that you can possibly transform into a more challenging use of your body.   

Could you transform making a phone call into an exercise, and stand or sit tall, stretch, or suck in your abs before you input the number? If you're in a hurry, you'll probably think to hell with this routine. But you could certainly transform bed-making, dishes, sweeping, laundry -- any tidying routine could become an exercise as well.  

Almost every day (for more than ten years), I exercise -- I do a dance ritual, using a recording that I fell in love with many years ago. Before turning on the sound system, I warm up with stretches, standing tall, and sucking in my abs -- the warmup isn't fun, but it enables me to move confidently, full out. Playing the music, I perform choreography which I've had to simplify somewhat over the years, but the movement fits the rhythms and crescendos of this music perfectly. 

This painting expresses how I feel when I'm dancing.

Charles Darwin once remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” Albert Einstein declared, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.” Jimi Hendrix called music his “religion.”

Fellow exercisers, find some music -- rap, classic, rock and roll, a song, or sounds you love -- and play it. Exercise becomes dancing.

You dance -- yes -- dance -- to wonderful music.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


John Cullum is, in fact, already working with a team--a writer, arranger, and director--on a one man show.
Will it happen? There's no biz like show biz--plans, dreams commitments change with the wind and weather.

Will the wind blow him into the theater --THE JOHN CULLUM THEATER, on 54th street? 

Friday, November 25, 2016


When I put on my sneakers, yank the laces and tug extra hard on them -- I think of Joe Busby. My latest new pair of sneakers arrived with  laces that were too long.

Visit what I found on the Internet.

I bought two pairs of strong, correct length laces for $1.26 + $3.00 for shipping. I emailed my thanks to the company, asking, "Who's the owner? How do you guys break even?"

Somebody replied immediately in an email, and said:
      "Joe Busby was a manager for Honeywell. for ten years in Dayton and moved to Cincinnati. He started the shoe lace business for various reasons -- two reasons being he wanted to be able to raise a family and work at the same time and also his wife had a full time job and was traveling a lot as well.  (Honeywell International Inc. headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, produces commercial and consumer products, including home thermostats, electronic security systems, and turbo-chargers for vehicles.)
      "He selected shoe laces because it allowed him to buy and sell. Thus, when he quit his corporate job he switched from buying and selling to making and selling at the same time and created a niche market for himself."

Hey, Joe Busby -- I am a blogger, writing short essays -- creating them and promoting them on Twitter and Facebook so that they'll be read. Having written six novels that are selling, (not very well) on Amazon, observing that people are reading less and "blogging" with their photos, expressing their ideas with  "likes" -- I feel it doesn't make sense to devote myself to writing a new novel.  (It takes a year or so, to write a novel -- you can create a post for a blog in five to eight hours.)

So I strain my brain every day, figuring out what to blog about. I wonder if Joe Busby felt what I feel -- sort of frustrated, purposeless -- when he was working at Honeywell?

Oh boy, I could write a book about all the things nobody told me about growing older -- like white socks. Years ago, I laughed because my mother, even in the summer wore white socks when she retired for the night. Mom didn't tell me, nobody ever mentioned the leg cramps that we get (my husband gets them too) if we don't wear socks.

Hey -- right now -- wow now -- today, I could start a non-fiction seventh book -- a big-fat-ever-expanding narration about stuff  that nobody warned me about. What fun to research it -- get folks to share what's bugging them, and sell it -- like Busby --  2 cents, + postage. Hey-yay yay -- that oughta keep me creatively percolating, for a year or two or ten.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Time Magazine devoted it's July 4th issue to listing the 240 favorite things that Americans love about our country.
Well-known Americans -- movie stars, TV stars, editors -- shared their favorite things and the "coolest" places to visit - -- the food, the sights, the fun parks and festivals.

Golly, I remember touring as a dancer  -- traveling and performing in more than 1000 American towns, staying in hotels, motels, tourist homes, guest bedrooms -- dining in lunch-counters, snack bars, eateries, restaurants -- moseying down thousands of main streets. Everyday we were on a different road moving toward a different horizon.

ME., TEX., UT., N.MEX.

CA., NEV., WA., MO.

... trees, wheat, or corn, or emptiness ...  every day a different sky hovering over people, cows, communities, fences, bridges, birds flying hither and yon as we headed ahead on a road that was going somewhere ...
GA.,NEB., COLO., Ill., ORE.

Time Magazine's 240 Reasons to Celebrate Our Country" reminds me -- how I loved heading down Pacific Coast Highway to the Cheesecake Factory,  favorite restaurant where we met with our son  every weekend for a sumptuous dinner -- loved our log cabin at the top of Las Flores Canyon Road in Malibu -- Las Fores -- wow, what a spectacular winding road, so many, many wonderful roads.


There are approximately 4,071,000 miles of roads in the United States, 2,678,000 miles paved and 1,394,000 miles unpaved ... golly, I have visions in my mind of more than 240 favorite roads ...

Yes, it's time for Thanksgiving, giving thanks for what I know, and feel, and have in my mind and heart.

Golly, America The Beautiful is beautiful.