Tuesday, December 18, 2018

MY BEST, MOST FAVORITE GIFT

This is the very first video I made by myself. I was nervous. I missed having my husband John Cullum seated next to me, helping me turn the subject into a back and forth chat.


Even so, I managed to explain why this gift is still my best, most favorite. most cherished gift, something I love to brag about, and mention every year.  Also, John is busy with other things now, no longer in the show I mention.

Friday, December 14, 2018

ROBERT REDFORD



Do I know him face to face, person to person?  No. 

I've gotten to know Robert Redford through my husband, John Cullum's experiences with him.

John played Judge Riley in Redford's film, "The Conspirators." Producer-director, Redford and John had long conversations. The film, shot in 2010, wasn't a big hit, but for John it was a hit experience.

Director Redford talked at length, quite passionately, about how and why he got involved with the subject of the film--the assassination of President Lincoln. Then. he explained why he needed strong energy from the Judge and dug into John's background. Though the Judge was not a major leading role, Redford patiently, persistently, searched with John for ways for John to achieve what Redford wanted.

Quite often, a director gets what he wants by encouraging the actor to do more or less what the actor does at the first group-reading of the script; sometimes, with just a few words, a director expresses his own thoughts; sometimes, what a director says is confusing, and even annoying. John says Redford's searching with him was fascinating, and very unusual.

Anyhow, though I don't know Redford, my husband's comments fit and expanded my impression. The look of Robert Redford speaks to me, and the choices he's made about what roles, which scripts, what subjects were important to him.

Many film titles come to mind--"The Candidate," and of course "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," but there are many other favorite films and images. What I've rustled up from my years of seeing this actor, is a sense of a quiet, inner man, who feels what he feels, uses his feelings and is always himself, but never himself.

Always himself but never himself? Yes. And in each project (not because of makeup, hair, or the outfit), the man is different.

Can you say who his wife, or wives were? Does he have children? Do you know where his home is.  Does he have homes in Hollywood, New York City, as well as near where his project, the Sundance Institute and Festival, takes place.

Sundance showcases new work from American and international independent filmmakers--feature-length films, short films, and miscellaneous other films, and uniquely affects the art. Redford created it, maintains it, and built it, so that it sustains itself.

He's a busy, active movie-going movie-maker, and actor who talks about retiring, announced his retirement, and hasn't retired, who has given me (and maybe you) experiences--visions of relationships, stories, and quite often a sense of family loyalties--perhaps beyond what we have personally experienced.

When my husband John was on Broadway in the musical, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"--one night as we were leaving the theater's stage entrance, we noticed a huge limo parked across the street. Even though he was more than a hundred away, Redford was instantly recognizable, as he was pacing near the limo, waiting for his daughter-in-law, who was also in the show.

She emerged from the stage door, said goodnight to us, and crossed to him. That's all. Redford called to us, "Good show," and waved to us.

What a guy! After all that he's done and been to the world-- the whole world--he waved.

He said once, during an interview, "All my life I've been dogged by guilt because I feel there is this difference between the way I look and the way I feel inside." He also said on more than one occasion, "I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security."

Golly, if you were to pick a career, mention a man who's hugely successful, who is still giving, sharing, teaching, offering what he is and what he knows to us--that's Robert Redford.

Here he's is, talking abut the fun he had, filming the last film he made that's gotten raves.

Monday, December 10, 2018

BIGIFY YOUR BRAIN

 Can you increase your IQ?  Yes.

After the last few days of horrendous political revelations, hey, gee, this is certainly the time to get smarter, wiser, brighter.




Newsweek cover story, nine fact filled pages, that was published six years ago proves that you can.

Studies and tests showed how "gray matter"(neurons) increase with use, and decrease when they're not used. Stimulants, pills, and aerobic exercise for the brain can improve your short term and long term memory, enhance your ability to retain information, and increase your attention span.

The piece de resistance of the article was 31 WAYS TO GET SMARTER--an illustrated list with comments by users. Websites, bloggers, and radio stations shared the Newsweek article with their readers. Googling around, I saw 89 versions of the 31 WAYS, with their own users comments.

Back then, 31 ways to better your brain became a hot topic. I boiled it down to the 14 things that sort of made sense to me:
(1) Play Word Games with Friends.
(2) Eat Turmeric [Indian spice that can reduce dementia].
(3) Take up Taekwondo [Martial arts].
(4) Toss Your Smartphone.
(5) Get a lot of Sleep [Harvard researchers proved it helps].
(6) Build a ‘Memory Palace [associate things with vivid images].
(7) Learn a Language.
(8) Eat Dark Chocolate.
(9) Play Violent Video Games [it quicken reactions].
(10) Eat Yogurt.
(11) See a Shakespeare Play.
(12) Play a Musical Instrument.
(13) Write By Hand.
(14) Drink Coffee.

If you'd like to see exactly what Newsweek said, here's the link.

Guys, "Newsweek" was telling us if you want to be smarter you gotta use your brain more, get busier, do 14 or 31, or more--51-101 MORE things than what you're doing now.

We are living in the age of doing stuff faster, not necessarily better--go with the flow--keep going with the  flowing ways of todays chittery, jittery, chirpering top guys.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

BEST INVENTIONS 2018

Best Inventions 2018 (click, see 'em all)....
Here's what interested me.     

ON DEMAND EYES FOR THE BLIND
AiraSubscription service, $99 per month, enables users to stream video of their surroundings to on-demand agent, using smartphone or Alexa’s proprietary glasses. The agents, available 24/7, will  answer questions, describe objects, guide users through a location.

 JACKET THAT GLOWS IN THE DARK
Solar Charged Jacket ($350) from Vollebak, U.K. sports-gear startup. The jacket’s phosphorescent membrane absorbs light during the day and releases what Vollebak founder calls “kryptonite green energy” after sunset.
 vollebak-solar-charged-jacket



SUITCASE YOU DON'T NEED TO UNPACK
Carry-on Closet from Solgaard Design, ($199). Outside looks normal. Inside is flexible set of shelves to keep clothes organized and compressed during travel, at destination, can be taken out to hang. (The system can also be removed entirely.)
carry on closet

WI FI ROUTER
Netgear’s Orbi beams an Internet signal to one or several devices which users place around their home; gadgets latch onto the strongest signal. Orbi’s Voice ($430, with router) also doubles as an Alexa-enabled smart-speaker, enables users to control other smart-home devices by voice command.

UNBREAKABLE PANTY HOSE
Sheerly Genius offers soft, comfortable pantyhose made of fiber typically used in bulletproof vests, at $99 per pair. (That high price makes the hose interesting, but not something I'd buy.)
Unbreakable Sheer Pantyhose

SPEAKER REPLACES YOUR REMOTE
Sonos Beam soundbar ($399) will change the channel, volume, and turn off TV--users simply tell their Beam to make it happen. Works with many platforms like Alexa and Siri, and delivers superior sound quality.
sonos beam

WHEELCHAIR
A superior wheelchair, Model Ci ($3,999 electric) has front “omni-wheels,” enabling it to ride as much as 10 miles, climb obstacles two inches in height and navigate in cramped quarters.
whill-model-ci

HELMET WITH HEADLIGHTS
 Lumos Kickstart Helmet ($180)--LED lights increase cyclist’s visibility, blink to indicate turn left or turn right. Riders can trigger signal by clicking a wireless remote mounted to their handlebars.
lumos-kickstart-helmet

TV SET THAT BLENDS INTO THE WALL
Samsung’s 4K QLED model ($1,099) features “Ambient Mode” which displays works of art, weather reports, personal photos, or can mimic the wall and blend in to your room when not in use.


LynQ COMPASS ($209 for two), uses GPS technology to find other LynQ as much as three miles away. Onscreen pointer sends user in the right direction. Pet owners, parents can set up  “safe zones” for wandering child or pet.
LynQ

SELF-CLEANING vACUUM
iRobot Roomba i7iRobot’s  Roomba i7, ($950) powers up a separate vacuum, inside its base charger, that sucks up dirt and dust from the Roomba’s innards into disposable bag, each bag holds month’s worth of gunk.

CHEATERS MONOPOLY
Hasbro Cheaters Edition ($20), has “cheat cards” to encourage players to steal from the bank, dupe others for cash or property. If you're caught it's as if you're handcuffed to the board.
monopoly-cheaters-edition


Gotta say this year's inventions don't thrill me, but I'd love to play this version of monopoly and try to win.