Saturday, January 23, 2010


This is awful. Are big corporations and Wall Street going to be running our country? What should we do -- what can we do?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, January 22, 2010


I happened to read the next paragraphs under "S, for Smiling" in Time Magazine's "Year in Health."

"Comparing pictures of blind judo athletes in the 2004 Paralympics with sighted ones in the Olympics, a psychologist and a photographer found that gold-medal winners, blind or sighted, were more likely to exhibit genuine smiles, engaging the eye muscles, while silver medalists tended to display stiffer social smiles. Having innate roots for smiling bolsters studies showing that not only does mood drive facial expressions but facial expressions, in turn, can change mood. This is why some psychologists urge depressed or angry patients to smile more."

The article put a big smile on my face, especially the "innate roots" sentence. Most of the time, I wear a smile like a piece of clothing ... well, maybe it's more like lipstick ... like eye makeup. It's not a big smile that requires acknowledgment -- no, it's just a small smile so I can look at passers-by, who are are looking at everyone, like I am.

Is it a fake smile? No, when I'm smiling, I feel pleasanter and prettier -- and it delights me when every once in a while someone smiles back.

So why am I writing about it today? Because -- from lots of traveling and dealing with strangers who speak other languages -- from dealing with employees in show biz, (stars and chorus kids) -- from dealing with countless trades-people and officials like police, garbage collectors, plumbers, UPS drivers and Con Edison workers -- you learn to communicate with just about anyone.

AND YOU LEARN TO SMILE. Connect with them, see them, and they connect, and they see you, and they work for you--they work with you better.

They really do. And so do you.

It's practical. And it makes each day, a better, richer, fuller day. It gives me pleasure like the pleasure I get from planting seeds in my window box, and watching for the first sprout. That's a thrill, like the thrill you get when you "click" with someone -- connect, share a space of time, and do the job.

Here's some great quotes:

"A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." Phyllis Diller.

"Start every day with a smile and get it over with." W.C. Fields.

"Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available." Jim Beggs.

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." Mark Twain.

I think Mark Twain's quote is my favorite. It cheers me up. That's because we're filming another vidcast, and I see my "smile" history on my face.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Criminals develop fans. Rock, pop and rap stars, especially the ones who beat up their girl friends, get into brawls, car crashes, or are caught carrying weapons or drugs -- their fame quotient soars!

The media pays more attention to murders than to regular nice guys, and devotes more time to tirading Republicans like Cheney, than outraged Democrats, like Biden or Kerry. Murderers, and screwballs are more interesting. But every appearance on TV makes them more famous. Cheney's power would be much less if TV didn't re-broadcast his speeches, and discuss them.

Every time the media quotes Cheney, it nails in the negative, anti Obama, anti everything that America stands for, that Cheney is laying on the current administration.

Boycott Cheney.

We're making heroes out of bad guys, cranks, and crackpots.

Okay -- I understand -- the media guys need hot news to keep us tuning into their shows.

●So tell us more about the balloon boy -- how's he doing at school?
●And the two pilots who didn't land -- are they still piloting planes?
● Update us on the status of the murderer in the Fort Hood Hospital?
● What about whatshername – the young woman who wanted more time for dating, and chloroformed, and buried her little daughter?

What about Liz Cheney -- she's on my boycott list -- she's using Daddy's name to get attention for her version of what’s wrong with everything that President Barack Obama’s doing.

And Russ Limbaugh --. every time he opens his mouth, you media guys quote what he said 10 times. Why don't you dig up some dirt on him and his current medication-- he acts high-as-a-kite!

Ditto with Lieberman. He's sucking up to anybody who might make him a name in history. Ask some prominent Jewish people how they feel about Lieberman?

I’m just complaining. Wishing, hoping that guys at the top of the media heap would read this and firmly, contagiously BOYCOTT Richard Bruce “Dick ” Cheney.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


My fingers hover over my keyboard ... I don't need to write about this rising "star." Her performance tells it better in "Romance."

Chicago Sun Times January 15, 2010
By Thomas Conner
"Lady Gaga canceled a concert Thursday night, claiming illness -- and yet there she was live on Oprah today, looking perfectly fine.

"Thursday night's show at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., was canceled -- after the opening acts had already performed! -- 'due to exhaustion and dehydration.' Lady Gaga tweeted an explanation later: 'An hour before the show I was feeling dizzy and having trouble breathing.' The performance has been rescheduled for January 26.

"This morning, though, she looked perfectly hydrated and spunky -- with spiky toothpick hair -- as she performed a medley of her hits on Oprah's weekly Friday show. She was even healthy enough to swing a gold, spiked ball on a chain into the windshield of a taxi on the stage.

"'I am so devastated,' she continued on Twitter, discussing the cancellation. 'I have performed with the flu, a cold, strep throat: I would never cancel a show just based on discomfort. I hope you can forgive me. I love my little monsters more than anything, you are everything to me.'"

(Em note;
she calls her fans "monsters.")

The critic goes on to say sort of facetiously -- "It must be difficult to partially lip-sync for a couple of hours, like she did in Chicago."

The New York Times review about this was almost identical but it doesn't mention the lip-syncing -- I've noted a lot of lip-syncing in all of her hit songs.

I read about Lady Gaga's appearance at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics show (see my post January 18, "New Stuff"). She caused a sensation, as she hit the Polaroid stand, and announced her appointment as "creative director" and "inventor of specialty products for Polaroid."

Wearing a black see-through dress and a blonde sunhat made entirely out of her own hair, she described herself as a "Polaroid girl" and said she was "outraged" when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001. She said her new Polaroid products would be available this year but few further details were revealed.

There are endless pictures of Lady Gaga in her wild outfits -- replete with weird, often shocking doodads, usually a potpourri of incompatible coverings.

A picture of her in a red rubber gown, greeting the Queen, was in all the papers in London as well as Time Magazine, and the Huffington Post, December 8. The reporter wrote, "Queen Elizabeth had a big grin on her face Monday night in London as she met Lady Gaga, who wore red leather and curtsied, following the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, England."

Lady Gaga's Website bio includes this quote from poet, Austrian art critic, Rainer Maria Rilke -- "In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?"

She described Rilke as her "favorite philosopher." (Hmm ... her lyrics don't sound like they're Rilke-inspired.)

On YouTube, her most well-known videos have been seen, by 8 to 12 million fans. To date, she has sold over 8 million albums and 35 million singles digitally worldwide.

Oh dear ... I've been writing, moaning, and complaining about the media creating false heroes and heroines, praising them, condemning them, paying attention to what's bad, stupid, harmful -- and here I am blabbing while I'm gagging over Lady Gaga.

That the untalented, not particularly beautiful Lady Gaga is making it by publicizing her body, her soul, her music, her poetry ... well, it's sad ... it's not incredible ... just sad to think she may be inspiring the next generation of young girls with big dreams.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Say hello to a relatively new word, new science that's telling us we can control our destiny, telling me:

"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

This post isn't about the movie, "Invictus," or the poem by William Ernest Henley that inspired Nelson Mandela. The last verse of the poem (quoted above) inspired me when I was very young, to vow I'd be a dancer till "death do me part."

I was fighting the fact that my parents didn't think I should be a dancer because my body, my mind, my temperament weren't suited for athleticism.

Well, cheer up – would-be Olympic Athlete, if you're too short, too skinny. Cheer up and go for it, if you're a would-be Beatle (or Beethoven), dreaming of a career in music.

Epigenetics is being discussed, accepted as factual, and being studied by John Hopkins Website, Duke University's Department of Medicine, University of Utah scientists, Tuft University biochemists, University College London geneticists, University of Bristol's epidemiologists, Washington State University's molecular biologists, and scientists at Salk Institute's Epigenome Center.

Here's what I've garnered from the experts, news sources, and various websites that quoted and reported in great detail -- what the experts have said.

Oncologists have seen some success in using epigenetics against leukemia, bone-marrow cancer and blood disorders. The FDA approved an epigenetic drug in 2004. Epigenetics is in Science News, The Washington Post, and The Quarterly Review of Biology in Tel Aviv. The National Institute of Health (NIH), has given the Epigenome Center a $190 million dollar grant.

Wow -- so it's established, I thought after I read quickly for about an hour -- so is it possible to be what you want to be?

I learned that varying traits in us are controlled by molecules that sit atop our DNA. The "epigenome" tells genes when to turn on and off. "Epi " mean on top. "Genome" is all of the genetic information, "the entire genetic complement, all of the hereditary material possessed by an organism."

Gee, does that mean our fate isn't heredity, and there are things we can do to change it?

"Epigenetic therapy is inexact," said one of the experts. There is already evidence that lifestyle choices, like smoking and eating too much, can change the epigenetic marks that cause the genes for obesity to express themselves too strongly, and the genes for longevity to express themselves too weakly.

There's evidence, apparently, that those same hurtful behaviors can also predispose your kids — before they are even conceived — to disease and early death.

Right now, scientists are learning to manipulate epigenetic marks in the lab. They're developing drugs that treat illness simply by silencing bad genes and jump-starting good ones.

So what are these guys talking about fixing, helping, changing -- in terms of your life and mine?

I learned that epigenetics will affect autism, longevity, Alzheimer's, infertility, cancer, and a propensity for obesity, and diabetes. When tumor-suppressing genes aren't doing their job, due to a genetic mutation (it's called"hypermethylation"), or cancer cells replicate uncontrollably -- by manipulating the epigenetic marks, doctors can get tumor-suppressing genes to work again.

Okay, but I couldn't help wondering --will those epigenetic changes will be permanent?

The answer is -- epigenetics doesn't change DNA. It isn't evolution when you suppress epigenomes. Right now the Epigenome Center has "mapped" epigenomes of two cell types (embryonic stem cell and a basic cell called fibroblast). There are at least 210 cell types in the human body — and possibly far more, according to Professor Joseph Ecker, the Salk biologist, who's working on the epigenome maps. Ecker calls the $190 million grant from NIH "peanuts," compared with the probable huge cost, of figuring out what all the epigenetic marks are and how they work together.

Okay, so when will all this work be done? Will epigentics affect me and my family?

David Shenk, a highly respected, accredited science writer, has a new book called, "The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ Is Wrong." (It will be his sixth book on related subjects -- it's being published by Doubleday this coming March.)

Shenk says epigenetics is helping usher in a "new paradigm" that "reveals how bankrupt the phrase 'nature versus nurture' really is."

He calls epigenetics "perhaps the most important discovery in the science of heredity since the gene."

So that's why I've written this post -- epigenetics is something hopeful and positive that's happening now (along with ups and downs in Health Care) that will affect us and help us all.

Monday, January 18, 2010


So what IS really new? What should we crave -- die to get our hands on -- what's urgent, important, that will change your life and mine?

For me, it's a big thing to stay in tune with the times. At the Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show, the big news was three-dimensional television. Right now, manufacturers and dealers probably have dollar signs before their eyes, remembering how CDs replaced records, how DVD players replaced VCRs, picturing the hordes lining up to buy a 3D TV.

(I miss our VCR -- still haven't thrown out the "Sopranos" cassettes the show's creator, David Chase, a friend of JC's, sent us every week or so.)

So how much will a 3D TV cost? The manufacturer, Phillips, was selling its 3D TVs in a $3,000 to $12,000 range, but shut down production because of the recession.

I have to admit, I'm underwhelmed by the idea of 3D TV in my house. It seems more like something for the kids and their various rob-fight-kill-destroy TV games.

What else was new? The peripatetic tech writer, Peter Ha, (of Tech Crunch and, representing Poland's Techland, announced seven new palm products -- hand-held "gizmos" that can do what your phone, or Blackberry can do -- do it faster, with added capabilities for note-taking, reading books, driving aids, calculating, with or without 3D and blue tooth.

Reading what Peter Ha said about the gizmos was fascinating, (mostly over my head), but he didn't mention anything I'd consider buying. (I still feel overloaded with the do's and don'ts in the booklets that came with my two-week old new stove and one-week old new refrigerator.)

There was a lot of talk at the convention about "Androids" -- the "Custom Android, SIM," and "TDK" and "SDK." (I don't know what the initials stand for -- a new thing I need for 2010 is a portable acronym translator -- maybe on a lapel pin I can wear all the time.)

I Googled "Android" -- it's software for mobile devices -- operating system, management software, and key applications. Being a Dell customer with four Dell computers, I had a brochure with pictures of the "Dell Mini 5 Android." It looks like a big iPhone -- it makes calls, and supports "full multi-touch."

What's multi-touch? There was no explanation in the booklet, but I figure the term means when you touch it -- wipe, slide, point, flick, brush, or tap -- something is activated.

A reviewer said, "The most awesome feature of the Dell Mini 5 is its 5-inch screen, (a 5 mp camera) so your subject fills the entire frame. I like the Mini 5 and Android on board. I don't have a need for this or any 5-inch tablet, but I'm going to give 'em a shot all the same."

Would I give it a shot? Why? I don't know how I'd use it. But apparently participants at the Las Vegas Show love it. Most of them have built their careers on these innovative new things -- learning how to handle them, and devising new ways to use them.

There were quite a few references to Apple's new "tablet." Apparently there have been rumors about it for more than a year.

"Tablet" refers to a laptop or slate-shaped, mobile computer, equipped with a touch-screen, or graphics screen that you can use to operate the computer with a stylus, digital pen, or fingertip, not a keyboard or mouse. (Those teeny tiny keyboards, utterly defeat me.)

Allan Hoffman, tech expert for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, said -- "I can sum up my attitude toward the Apple tablet in three words: I want one. Reports suggest Apple's going to introduce the tablet at a January 27 event in San Francisco. That’s enough for me to join the scores of other technology writers, business analysts and bloggers in speculating about what the device will be like and how it will change the world."

(Ah ha, I thought after I Googled "Apple tablet" and saw a headline in Business Week -- "Five Ways Apple's Tablet May Change the World.")

I skimmed it. Business Week predicts it will be a thin, slate-like device with a 10-inch color touch-screen, like an over-sized iPhone, with more than enough features that will let you leave your notebook computer behind on a business trip.

It doesn't sound like something that would affect me as a writer. I'd be interested if one of the new gizmos got rid of fingers and the impossibly tiny keyboard.

Hey ... "The Dragon, Naturally Speaking" -- it's been around for a while ... Why not have baby dragon something-or-other -- you give it an order like "email and so" -- "pay my bills" -- no apps no slide, wipe, flick, tap -- just tell it what to do?

Well ... I guess I've joined the horde that's waiting for something new ... A hand-held slate/pad/tablet that I can tell what to do and it does it!

I'd love it. Whoopee! I'd buy one in a flash!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


The first month of a new year is when I take a look at my daily, weekly routines, bills, plans, and see if I need to re-do or change my schedule.

With every post I write for my blog, there's research to do in encyclopedias, (got three in my computer), or on Google -- generally it's involved with learning more about the subject -- sometimes it's language (a synonym, or a better word) -- quite often it's finding a photo to make my post more interesting.

And occasionally, when I'm wondering about something, not sure of the name, or when/where that "something" occurred, I ask Google. And amazingly often, I get the name, and the when and where, on a page full of dot-coms that can give me further information.

For me, Google has been a reliable source -- a pal, teacher, verifier -- easy to access -- free and always available -- a way of learning about a subject, and cross-checking facts.

Plus, Google gives me an easy way to handle email, my calendar, and best of all -- my blogs. Google's blogger setup is well-planned. and it's enabled me, helped me write and publish a post every day for the past nine months.

What about Microsoft's "Bing?"

Bing, like Microsoft's operating systems (OS), forces me to "do it Microsoft's way." (It reminds me of that peppy-puppy assistant in M.S. Word, wagging his tail so you'll "follow the doggie!") I don't like the puppy, and I don't like the way information on Bing is organized, as if the user has an iPhone, and needs suggestions from Bing about "shopping apps."

Microsoft says Bing isn't merely a search engine -- it's a "decision" engine, and claims that Bing is faster, better, and more reliable than Google. According to Millward Brown, a research firm, Google doesn't advertise, and Microsoft has spent $100 million on marketing Bing. Here's what 15 users say about it.

Well ... I don't want or need a decision engine, and I'm not shopping -- I need information, summaries, definitions, and comments from knowledgeable, accredited sources.

Google's services currently include e-mail, calendar, Google Docs, a cell-phone operating system (Android), and a Web browser (Chrome).

Peter Ha, former news editor of, is now's editor for their new technology section. In the January 11th Time Magazine, he wrote, "Google plans to build a better browser, faster, more security, more stable than its year-old Chrome -- which boots up, loads web pages faster than Explorer or Firefox. Along with the new browser, Google plans to launch (in the fourth quarter of 2010) "netbooks" that will run on Chrome OS -- you may download it, and use it -- it's a free operating system that boots up into the browser, with no desktop."

He ends his article, saying– " If there's any doubt that Google has been gunning for Microsoft, then Chrome OS certainly puts that to rest. It's your move, Microsoft. Good luck."

I've written this post because I'm one of Google's 40 million users, (see my 7/19 post, "Goody Goog."), and I'm staying with Google, and recommending Google to friends and relatives, as well as my readers.

And it's time to say thanks -- a big thank you, Google -- from Em, for what you are doing now!