Saturday, January 30, 2010


This is my first solo videocast. Since JC is in final rehearsals of "Scottsboro Boys" before it starts previews at the Vineyard Theatre, he encouraged me to do a show for Air Broadcasting by myself. It's a "live" post, about what still nags me, about reading books on a "Kindle."

Friday, January 29, 2010


Forty-seven-books by Robert B. Parker are on the baker's rack in my living room.

I'm not a book collector. At various times in my life, I've been a voracious reader. I like to read at bedtime, and there's nothing like a Parker to take my mind away from myself, into another plain.

Right off the bat, he gets me into a scene, a world, a character. The language is simple, basic American. The dialogue is easy reading. After page 1, off I go, into the issues at stake for him or her.

Quite by accident, I saw a news flash, heard Robert Parker's name, and learned he died January 18th.
I wrote his name on my "do next" list. And pushed it out of my mind. Much, later, at the end of my work day, I raced upstairs to the baker's rack, to fumble through the row of Parker books, looking for my favorites. The row of his books is almost four feet long.

Though I haven't had time since I began blogging a year ago, to do any re-reading, or to buy the latest Parker, every single book in my row of Parkers was familiar. But, the titles didn't tell me if it was a plot with whats-his-name, or whats-her-name -- and I couldn't remember the name of my favorite, the book I love -- the book I found myself looking for.

Was it. "Deuce" something? No, my favorite Parker book was "Double Play." I raced around checking the shelf next to our bed, ran downstairs to check the shelf in my office. Back upstairs again, I found the book on the bottom shelf of the baker's rack.

I don't have time to re-read it -- not now, not this week. I found myself wanting to know how old author Robert B Parker was , and why he died?

I learned he was at his desk. It probably was a heart attack. He was 77. The pictures of him on the book jackets show that he's overweight, so "heart attack" makes sense.

Parker's most famous detective-self is a guy named Spenser. There are two other Parker detective-selves that I know well, and enjoy -- police chief Jessie Stone and girl/woman Sunny Randall. There are also, on my shelf, nine other Parker books that are novels, not mysteries.

I have re-read all the Parkers. When I re-read, for me it's as if I'm reading a new book. I vaguely remember where the plot is heading, but the unfolding of the plot, the growth of the characters is amazingly interesting -- I feel as if Parker is letting me into himself -- HE is inside the men and the women who are central to his stories.

The dog lover is there, no matter what role the author was playing as he wrote the book. The woman detective Sunny Randall IS Parker. Parker is definitely Spenser the detective, earthy, athletic guy, who drinks a lot, cooks superbly, loves women, is deeply in love with the woman with whom he's more or less living. Spenser knows a lot about psychotherapy, modern dance, ballet, literature, poetry, working out, boxing, hiking, guns, injuries, and survival.

I'm very sorry Robert B. Parker is gone. His footprints are in my mind.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I saw the title -- the title got to me, not the article in Newsweek, January 18th.

David Wallace-Wells reviewed a new manifesto" by Jaron Lanier called, "You Are Not a Gadget," with wonderfully (or do I mean wondrously) packed sentences that I had to read twice, and even then I wasn't absolutely sure what he meant. So I found another review.

In the New York Post, January 10, "You are Not a Gadget" was reviewed by Larry Getlen who said, "The most popular aspects of Internet life — including Wikipedia, Facebook and digital music — are so detrimental to humanity that they give young people a reduced expectation of what a person can be. That’s the disturbing conclusion of Jaron Lanier, the computer scientist famous for coining the term 'virtual reality.'”

I am howling inside, when I keep seeing Facebook quotes, communiciations, connections, enrollees' super-passionate commitment to Facebooking, Twittering, Linking in, Digging, and more, and more, and more, and MORE.

So now that I have had a peek at Steven Jobs, thrilled and proud of the Apple IPad, the ITablet the world's been waiting for, have a look -- bearing in mind that kids 8 to 18 spend 7.5 hours a day with their media devices. I personally am praying the Apple guys will stop, stop it, stop improving the world with gratuitous IGizmo-Gadgets. HERE'S THEIR NEW BABY!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Eeny, meeny, miney -- Jay, Dave, or Conan O?

Leno is easy to watch. He's unpretentious -- a down-to-earth, regular guy, who doesn't work too hard at being funny or clever. If his audience isn't amused, he goes on to the next joke on his script. Leno is what he is -- a nice man, who is also famous.

Back in the days when Leno was doing his show at 11:35 p.m., I liked his chats with ordinary people, who were crossing the street. I didn't have to pay a whole of attention. The questions he asked, the unabashed ignorance of most of the people was pleasantly amusing -- pleasant because of Leno's amused, surprised reaction -- it was as if he sympathized with their ignorance.

In those days, if I was in the mood, I watched Leno.

Letterman's gimmicky stuff -- especially the collegiate-fifties humor of the "top ten," and his exchanges with bandleader, Paul Shaffer bore me. (Sorry Shaffer, but your music, humor, and style are dated.)

Leno's exchanges with his bandleader, Kevin Eubanks, are up-to-date and fun. And Leno's various gimmicks are simpler -- you may laugh or not react, but you enjoy the way Leno enjoys whatever it is, whereas Letterman, when he's participating in the top ten, and other gimmicks, has a dismissive, supercilious tone.

Yes, that's what is -- Letterman laughs at us, when we laugh at his jokes -- Leno laughs with us. Dave seems like someone who's faster, and sharper than you. Jay's more of a friendly, accessible pal.

Because the 10 p.m. Leno show was a wrong time (we start looking for a movie or news at that time), we peeked at Letterman. And then found ourselves hooked on the scandal brewing around him and his girlfriends. Letterman's handling of it made me like him more than I'd ever liked him before.

We didn't watch O'Brien. Letterman (and Leno) are more "our speed" than O'Brien.

About a year ago, we watched O'Brien for a few weeks. I didn't like his dance-step entrance. He seemed like a kid showing off. I didn't like his obeisance with prayerful hands, and the modest braggart, humble bragger airs -- or his gimmicks. I liked his drummer-bandleader, Max Weinberg.

I think NBC's decision -- returning Leno to his old time, paying off O'Brien, has made Leno into a wounded warrior -- not defeated but damaged. He failed at the prime time hour -- and now, somehow, Leno's on the verge of being out of date himself.

And maybe he is.

When Leno returns to 11:35, we may very likely gravitate to Letterman -- It's as if he's on a tightrope, balancing, joking, teetering -- it's relaxing, knowing he might fall, watching him never fall into the abyss.

Times have changed! How many times have I said that, thought it, written that recently? All this is to explain that right now, late night shows -- paying attention to stars, and pretty people -- wondering what's special about them, definitely makes me sleepy. I need the sleep.

Listening to the news jolts me awake.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I am not or overweight, but I am an experienced dieter.

As a dancer, I kept my weight about 10 pounds under what my body craved. Movie stars do the same thing -- often they carve off more than 10 pounds because the camera adds 10 pounds. Dieting dancers and actresses, like models, are not dieting. They're doing what they have to do in order to work, and succeed in their chosen profession. (See my post Diet Nuttiness, 10/27/09).

I didn't wear tutus. I wasn't a ballerina. But my body seemed to need 116 pounds. I wanted to be 110. In tights, leotard tops, body suits, or transparent chiffon costumes, I wanted to look slender -- no bulges -- even a slightly bulging stomach was a no-no.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Sanford Siegel appeared on the "Today" show and discussed his diet plan -- the six cookies a day, limited calorie diet that many, many women have used since 1975. The cookies look like chocolate chip cookies, but they're nutrient packed biscuits, and not very tasty.

Siegel's cookies are once again a current, hot, new, "marvelous" diet -- competing with Jennie Craig, Nutrisystem, and the dieters who are on last month's hot, new marvelous "Big Breakfast Diet."

Diets have been around for a long time. On I counted eighteen famous diets. The list didn't include the popular diet in the sixties -- one Ayds candy before each meal, or the "Sleeping Beauty" diet of 1966. Rumors say Elvis was on it. With sedation, you don't eat, you just sleep for 10 days.

In 1972 Robert Atkins, published his "The Diet Revolution" -- eat all you want of high carbohydrate foods -- and use "ketostix. You pee on them, and if you're in "ketosis," hurray! The stick turns purple and you're losing weight.

(Ketosis is an abnormal number of ketones in the blood. Ketones are chemicals which cause the body to metabolize body fat for energy, instead of glucose from carbohydrates -- the not-great side effects include bad breath and a slight body odor.)

I tried the diet and it worked. I lost five pounds but I lost energy -- so much energy that it was hard to rev up for a walk across my studio. The fact is, I couldn't dance.

I made an appointment, and Dr. Robert Atkins became my doctor and personal friend for more than a year. A former "heart specialist" who'd loved to eat, and gained about 30 pounds, he experimented on himself, and figured out how to diet them off.

Atkins had a fabulous penthouse apartment with a garden surrounding it. He collected paintings, and famous patients, (or semi famous like I was at the time). He helped me with special vitamins, a modified regimen, and special recipes.

He liked/loved the "leggy dancer" look of me, so I saw him every two weeks (in mini dresses that showed off my legs). The diet that he put me on was 1500-1800 calories a day, high carbs, plus bread, as needed. (Bread is not on the Atkins diet.)

When I was in Cologne (see my post, "Big Brag" 6/18), on the Em-Atkins diet, I bought him s a thank-you gift -- a dozen tubes of Cyclamates, a saccharin substitute that he used personally. (Cyclamates couldn't be purchased in New York.)

However, after being booed in Cologne, I didn't see Dr. Robert Atkins again. I began to be the me I am now.

Though I'm no longer a dancer, I exercise daily -- I love to dance -- it's been part of my life ALL my life. But that's not why I'm slender. Going to the gym, ballet, bicycle, running, treadmill, hiking, Yoga, Pilates make you feel much better, but exercise doesn't makeyou lose weight.

Motivation is the key.

Examine your motivation: Why do you want to be thinner? Is it your health? Is it envy? You want to be more attractive? Write it in a notebook: 'I want to lose weight because ..." ( Include all the reasons, even if they seem silly, superfluous.)

Read what you have put down in your notebook every day, for seven days. If you get bored, annoyed, or skip reading it, don't go on the diet. If you agree with what you wrote, try an eat less diet.

Tell no one.
Pick a realistic goal.
Weigh yourself before you begin.
Weigh yourself every two weeks at the same time.
Eat small portions; tiny bites; five to seven times a day is okay.
Avoid dinner parties.
When someone begs you to taste this or that, say -- "I'm just not hungry right now."
Pray for big will power, or say "will power!" loudly to yourself.
If you fall off the diet, re-read "Why I want to lose weight" for four days, and if it makes sense, try again.

I recommend BE who you are, BE what you are.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Recession looms over us and it rhymes with depression. And "heavy heavy what hangs over." Like the Rockwell Kent picture, it is depressing.

Still, it's comforting to know that we've been through it before, and not only rebounded, we grew, and grew beyond where we were before.

Much is being said, right now, about the way we used to be twenty, forty, sixty years ago, and the "Recession Generation" -- the youngsters growing up now -- where are they heading and what will become of item?

What will the younger generation think about money, jobs, owning a home -- having babies, a fancy car, a flat screen TV, dining in the best restaurants, taking vacations in foreign lands?

Rana Foroohar's article, in January 18's Newsweek magazine. stated, then proved with various examples, how we are affected all our lives by our parents, and concluded, "Just as our tea-bag-saving grandparents who grew up after the Great Depression, seemed to do fine with less, so might the children of this downturn."

Her article in Newsweek predicts, "The 'New Normal Americans' will be holding wrenches and loading cargo (from solar panels to bags of grain) onto trains, à la the post-Depression generation, rather than fiddling with BlackBerrys."

It left me shaking my head -- not sure that what I'd learned, related to what I what I've observed and feel.

(I do better when I amble around in what I, myself, have done, or experienced vicariously.)

I think times have changed, and what influences us has changed. I think the younger generation is more affected by what they see in movies, TV, comics, and advertisements, than what their parents did.

I think the academics' and economists' predictions belong to the past. The concept of labeling a generation is out-of-date. The term brings comfort to the money-makers who speak about the future as if money rules the world.

It doesn't if you aren't living on Wall Street. The next generation of youngsters is already in touch with the world -- a different and larger world than the world of the past generation.

The life and death stories that move them, touch them, scare them, belong to a much larger world. The world is their family.

The recession generation won't buy into frugality, or the hyper-capitalist culture. They'll do what they have to do, to survive in the "New Now," which they define by what they can count on.

Is there a future? Is the future shaky? They see it differently from what I see. They are not hemmed in by our out-of date labels.

The new, up-and-coming younger generation will take what's there -- enjoying or hating what's there, using and re-shaping it if they have to, in order to survive.

Sorry, Rana Foroohar -- it's an interesting "top story" for Newsweek, but your predictions seem to me, to be quite wrong. I'm counting on the children to pick up where we've left off, and forage a much better future.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Wow, what fun! J.C. and I had our vidcast on “Mad Men” picked up and embedded on the blog, “Inside Talk About TV’s Mad Men Show.”