Saturday, July 24, 2010


Why do we care about Lindsay Lohan being jailed?

Is it because she's got all the gifts? She's got beauty, grace, intelligence, talent, and good luck. She emerged from the thousands of other beautiful. graceful intelligent talented girls in Hollywood, who are doing their very best to make it.

Make it? We know making it means to become a name, get acting roles in films, be written about and talked about, have paparazzi following your every move, be invited to celebrity parties, wined, dined, pursued by up-and-coming young guys, and older, very powerful men.

Why do we listen to news about her father, what he said, what he's feeling, and shake our heads, tut-tut? We have opinions on whether he's lying, or trying to make it himself, and ditto
her mother. We grab and swallow whatever anyone reports on their attitude toward their daughter, greedily enjoying reports of their greed, lack of real love, poor parenting.

Okay, a lot has been written about Hollywood stars being our gods and goddesses. Down through the ages, people have expanded their lives by living through the lives of the famed, powerful, unreachable, untouchable, famous men and women who live in what appears to be a wonderful rich magical other world.

But Lindsay Lohan is not a goddess -- not quite yet. Britney Spears was, and Madonna is, Winona Ryder was, Hepburn was and is, Lady Gaga is ... And on goes the list. (I can put together the female list, not the male, because I'm a female and know what the goddesses have that I don't have.)

We're eating up the news about Lindsay Lohan because she's on her way to goddess-dom. Yes, yes, of course, with her looks, luck and talent she'll get there, but she is in danger.

Why are we so damn hungry?

I think it's a lack of shimmer, excitement, magic, dazzle, danger yes -- danger -- suspense in our own lives. She's got the gifts of the Gods and we don't -- you and I are lacking, minus, some of them ... Maybe beauty, or talent, or luck -- and therefore the possibility of making it into that magical world or any magical world.

Yes, you and I are lacking something ...

So what does it mean? Should we NOT eat up the news about Lindsay Lohan's first hours, how degraded she felt by a strip search, how cooperative she's being, how her sentence is already going to be reduced? The news is everywhere, in the air, like the sparkling dust you see when you squint at a shaft of light.

If you open your eyes, it's not there. Lindsay Lohan isn't there either.

Here is my message to ME: She's a figment made by sellers of glamor that you can't avoid, unless you immerse yourself more deeply in your life, your world, your minutes -- the minutes of your day -- whatever you are doing, where ever you are, seize your power and use it.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Speeding along, things blur.

Do you speed -- do you hurry along when you read, walk, exercise, eat? Do you do your chores quickly -- household chores, and all the other things you do when you're doing your job?

I was taught speed reading -- glance at a paragraph, take it in with my camera-like eyes, blink -- SEE the words, the shape of sentences, a few words near the dot, (the period) and blink-blink and go on -- blink, blink, blink and I can almost grasp a half page, or the page. The gist.

I am going faster and faster with almost everything I do, including getting started -- doing whatever (dishes or writing), and getting it done.

This habit is a way of life. Yes, I Googled. I grabbed some facts. There is, actually, a Day of Slowness -- it's on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Also, I saw quite a few references to the fact that slow readers actually learn more, and know more, because they've put more of themselves into the process of taking in new information.

I remember at the University of Chicago (I went there for about 8 weeks, hated it, took a train to New York) -- a lecturer talked about Nietzsche -- a philosopher, philologist (1844-1900), who dug into, studied, and absorbed the origins of religion, civilization, morality, and told/taught his students, his devotees, other philosophers, and ultimately the world -- why we think the way we think, about right and wrong, good and bad.

Nietzche not only read carefully, slowly, and sold that idea -- he exemplified it back in mid 19th century, before the turn of the century into the age of Whiz/Zoom, Go-go-ery, (my term for the 20th century), which we, speeding along in the 21st century, have definitely gone way, way, way beyond.

(Okay, I am not a scholar, and therefore, what I am sort of talking about is stuff I've more or less absorbed by osmosis (love that word) -- not specifically studying, or speed-reading, but breathing in, hearing, blinking -- gathered into my mind, um ... well, it's knowledge dust.

We've got computers, and all sorts of speedy, amazing hand-toys, Websites, knowledge engines that get you information, get you anywhere/everywhere and beyond, if you crave infinity, which is what, these days -- a black hole beyond the black holes?

Ouch! I can't help but bump into my own mind-wall. And wonder fast, mile-a-minute, before I discard this confusing thought -- why not try slow. Read slowly? Walk, talk slower, do all my chores slowly? There would be fewer chores, because I'd have less time, maybe no time to do more and more!

I'll sing that silly nice song Frank Loesser wrote --

Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two

Inchworm, inchworm
Measuring the marigolds
You and your arithmetic
You'll probably go far ...

Hey, it's OK to go
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s - l
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .o - w
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .l -
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .y

Hm-m-m ...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


What you need to make your life complete is a "Silkie" chicken. They're fluffy, frisky, friendly, and intelligent.

You can actually train a Silkie -- you can even let him/her wander and you won't lose your darling pet. Silkies, like all chickens, know where there live, and habitually, at dusk, find their way home.

"Leghorn" chickens, in fact, lay more eggs, but Silkies -- for beauty, for petting (as it pat-pat, or softly caress) -- a couple of Silkies are what the chicken pet lovers lovingly recommend.

I've read two articles about them, and even I can now advise you.

... Hmm ... why am I writing this? am I thinking of getting a chicken for a pet ... ?

Clearly, a chicken pet is low maintenance. Of course, they need shelter and food, but what they need is minimal --"Somewhere between a goldfish and a cat," says a Silkie lover who has 12 hens in his back yard in Philadelphia.

You don't have to walk them, and pick up their poop with a plastic bag or a shovel. And though building a coop does takes a little work, you can buy a smallish dog house, buy chicken wire at your hardware store, and quite easily create a fenced-in coop for three or four chickens.

Aside from being an interesting, intelligent pet, with a lot of personality, they can eat weeds, spiders, worms, grasshoppers, fleas, ticks. bugs, peck at grasses, and eat weeds. Also, instead of a traditional chicken shed, you could create a movable pen -- let your chickens graze in the yard and move the pen every day or two. It's a synergistic relationship -- the chickens and the lawn benefit!

... Hmm ... there seem to be quite a few advantages, even different colors -- lavender Silkies, blue, orange -- orange would match my hall walls ...

Furthermore, treats for your chicken pet can be leftovers -- you can hang a cabbage or an apple from the coop's ceiling, and your pet will eat up every last bit.

So, do I want a Silkie? NO! But reading about chickens as pets, a wave of nostalgia has came over me -- our cat "Helpy," our dog "Teechie," our pigeon "Little Soup" taught me NO PETS if you live on the top floor in the heart of New York City, even though our best friend has such joy from her dogs, and our son in North Hollywood now has three cats whom he adores, but ... .
"There - ain't - no - body - here -but -us - chic -kens!"

... I sang and danced to that song how many years ago ...?

Umpteen years ago I tried (with a black girl friend), to be the "Black & White Dance Duo." We created a 2 minute choreography. auditioned for Duke Ellington (yes, the guy himself). He said "Maybe." And his manager asked for Emily Fox's phone number. (I changed my last name to "Fox.")

Nobody called.

Then we auditioned for Louis Jordan & his Tympany Five, and Louis nodded and said, "Yes, maybe."

Nobody called Emily Fox or my black girl friend, but I played and replayed all the Louis Jordan and Duke Ellington records till they were completely worn out. Now I've got Dvds, but-Emily Fox -- I am not.

Here's an irresistible version of "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" -- listen for a minute and you'll be dancing with Emily Fox.

Got a back yard? Want to dance with your pets? Then, here's what you need.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My worrying about the Gulf -- it's a fever. I don't have any medicine, that helps me get my temperature back down to normal.

The wars -- I keep trying to understand the mountain of decisions that force us to stay in Iraq, and continue fighting in Afghanistan. And this is a heavy burden I'm carrying around all day in an invisible knapsack that's strapped to my frame. I didn't put the knapsack there. I'm not carrying books to school. I just go upstairs to do upstairs-chores, and come back downstairs to write on my computer. But I can't get rid of this burden. It's weighting me down.

Yes, really, it is. I like my work -- I'm not enjoying my work -- yes, I'm the boss, but I can't go to my idea list where I put down subjects to examine and write about.

Why, because every day, almost every hour, I am aware of soldiers with guns and knapsacks on the march, stepping over objects that could explode and kill them, but they're doing their job. What is the job? The only sentence I can muster is -- "making life dangerous for the Taliban guys who want us -- America, my country -- off the face of the earth."

Do I let that sentence stand? I have to. It's them against us, so I support us, and this job the soldiers are doing.

These young people fighting the war are more in my thoughts than the ideas on my list -- the deadly chemicals in woman's makeup -- the barefoot burglar (Colton Harris-Moore), finally caught -- the comic Al Franken working well, working "seriously" on getting laws passed -- and oil.

Oil, oil, oil -- I keep seeing the black oil-covered pelicans, the cap that's working today but might not work tomorrow -- the surreal, solid-colored smoke billowing out of something that I can't picture though they say it's as tall as a five-storey building -- the white-sand beaches with guys picking up blobs of viscous stuff, putting it where?

I can't stop wondering what happens to the oil that BP salvages in its billion-dollar processes. Is the "fixed" oil sold to people with oil burning furnaces? Is it canned and sold as oil for our cars? Are they working on using it, selling it as fuel for our fuel tanks?

My number-one worst, most-diverting, most-sickening thoughts? Numbers were mentioned today: 43% think Obama is doing his job; 46 % are now favoring Romney -- oh-my-God --are they forgetting, burying, actually considering a Say-No-Republican for president in 2012 -- oh no, oh yes, oh gee -- is Romney better than Sarah Palin?

I'm telling myself it's just the numbers game. The media's tired of Mel Gibson's cuss words. Selling us numbers helps sell the guys who hate the idea that a black man is trying to clean up the Bush-Cheney messes.

Recently a Facebook friend wrote me and said why do you have to keep mentioning that Obama is black? How can I not mention it when I feel race prejudice in the air like humidity -- it's like those billowing clouds of oil that's there, still there, lurking in the water.

STOP. Today's news says the leak has been stopped. Clap your hands; click "save," and write about Chelsea's wedding plans or Bristol's. Or Kate Gosselin's new show ...

I can't. Maybe tomorrow my immune system will be back to normal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"As the World Turns" has been part of millions of people's lives for 54 years. After 13,858 episodes, it will go off the air September 17th of this year. It's been a story, a fictional town, and characters, fictional people audiences have identified with, kvelled over, worried about since 1956.

"As the World Turns" and "The Edge of Night" premiered opposite each other, on the same day, same time ( 4:30 pm EST). and were the first daytime shows that ran -- not fifteen minutes long, but thirty minutes in length. By 1959, about ten million viewers were watching the "World Turns" stars -- Helen Wagner, Don MacLaughlin, Don Hastings, and Eileen Fulton every day.

When that final episode airs, what will the audience do? Watch "General Hospital" perhaps? Find another daytime show? Dr. Phil, Oz, Rachel Ray, Ellen DeGeneres, Judge Judy?

The huge number of viewers -- their devotion -- what "As the World Turns" means to them has me wondering what it means, what it signifies to me and to you?

Do you have a show you always watch? A midday, afternoon, tea-time ritual, a routine -- a something that you do every day that brings you a sense of peace? safety? Or puts a period, a check mark on your inner whatever you call it -- and once you do it -- you've DONE it?

I think Facebook is doing that for me/you/us.

What are we doing by logging in every day (once? twice, more?)? How often doesn't matter, but we are logging in, and sharing hum-drum personal events, events in the news -- all sorts of minor, major dramas.

Each of us is a lone, single person. You learn that early on as a little child. You may have siblings, and parents, but you cannot tell them what to do, or think/feel. Things (events) happen. You fail, succeed, win, lose, try, forget to try, hope, pray, wonder, stop, go, look, nap, hurry! There are signposts -- birthdays holidays, someone's schedule, hopes, dreams -- visions of things you craved -- doll, bike, skates, ring -- or a person you love, you pray will love you ... (This list is an endless list each person makes for himself/herself.)

You, the same as a planet -- have your orbit. And pass/cross/ collide with, are parallel with, or unified temporarily with -- another orbit, but YOU are one entity.

The need, the yearning to be part of another orbit, is there because you are just one person.

The people who watched "As the World Turns" became part of an orbit, many orbits, by joining a family -- growing, changing, traveling with them -- sharing with them more intimately (probably) than they shared with their sisters or brothers, or parents.

Why? Because your family knows a real YOU.)

That is what Facebook is. (And "Tweeting," but I haven't gone into tweeting -- mostly, it's peeps -- trifling, futile, little nothings that don't seem worth the effort).

Here goes an EM blanket remark: I THINK FACEBOOK IS THE SOAP OPERA OF NOW.

I have 700 friends that I mostly recognize -- I remember names and faces. And you are doing that also -- gathering names and faces.

When you join Facebook you create a character, a vague aspect of yourself, or more. You set forth in a profile what you want people to see, as you announce weather, your dinner menu, or something that's important to you -- a party, maybe a show you're in. (I announce every day what I've posted on my blog, Em's Talkery).

Pick any "page" (wall, or person) and there are statements, photos, drawings that make you, the visitor, wonder who is that -- how odd-weird-interesting -- where does he/she live -- she/he does what?

Some Facebookers have 4999 friends and graduate to a "fan page" where (the same as a "famous" celebrity), they're sort of known/recognized/familiar to their visitors. But we -- you and I who are reading this -- have created a place where you live, and share with a family YOU choose, the who/what/when where of YOU, whom you choose to be.

You are my soap opera. I am yours.

Monday, July 19, 2010


It's growing on me, the need to figure out why the look of this lady bothers me.

Why she worries me, and what has been written about her makes me think ... uh oh!

I like Hillary Clinton, and I like Rachel Maddow. It isn't unadulterated admiration. I like Christiane Amanpour. I like Sandra Bullock. If I sat and stared at my fingers, I'd remember other names to add, but it wouldn't be a long list. Women that I admire need to be observed for quite a while -- my feelings need to season, and a sense of trust happens (or doesn't).

I liked Greta Van Sustern on Fox News, till the pre-election days, when what she was reporting was so biased, so loaded with anti Democratic ideas -- it was such a heavy-duty, one-hundred-percent Republican voice, that I stopped watching her.

If you ask me about my politics, I say I am not political. I don't belong to a group. But I usually end up on the Democrat's side of the fence because what they seem to support makes sense to me/my logic/my experiences as a girl/lady/babe/mother/ wife/woman.

(For me it's like buying a right pair of shoes. I have to be careful of my bunions, and the fact that the toes of my left foot do not bend more than one-third of the way a normal foot needs to bend in order to walk. I fit "Democrat.")

What are the elements I see/hear in the fresh, new face Of Nikki Haley?

Posture registers. How this woman carries herself, gestures or doesn't gesture -- does she stand up straight, and sit straight. How she dresses -- skirts too short, clothes too tight? Nikki looks great.

Heels too high has become a category -- spike heels means she is proud of her legs and using them seductively (as Sarah P does). And why not? But when I'm adding up do I like her, don't I like her -- it's a small factor.

Of course I note makeup. Haley's makeup is perfect, just the right amount.

Too much God talk doesn't work for me because I was brought up without a religion. If you say grace I think that's lovely and graceful, but you will lose me if your grace is larded with father/son/ holy ghost/ or our "dear lord Jesus Christ."

Nikki Haley hasn't thrown in a lot of God talk; nor has she indicated race prejudice.

That she's Indian is a plus -- her parents were Sikh; she's married to a "Methodist," raising her children as Methodists. But she has said that she is "anti establishment, for smaller government, and lower taxes."

So I'm worried about her unexpressed attitudes toward women's rights -- abortion, health care -- and fixing what's desperately needing to be fixed -- roads, rails, the electrical grid, environment, immigration -- oh dear -- it's a long, urgent list.

And she's supported by Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter -- angry, articulate anti-establishment columnists, -- and Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Sharron Angle -- women who are attacking, undermining, stalemating every move that the man we elected is making.

I cannot wait around for more specifics.

I think Nikki Haley is another pretty face in the vase of flowers of great-looking, talented, handsome women who are perfuming the air with ugly, dangerous, negativity that's making it hard to breathe. They are hurting everything and everyone.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


"The Great Great Plains" is an article in my current Newsweek, with a map of 860 Midwestern cities with over 10,000 people.

I'm remembering my one-night-stand tours -- the great plains -- roads, hours and hours of driving, different times of the year -- rain, snow, summer, spring -- the utter tedium getting to each city -- the hectic confusion of arriving, finding accommodations, and setting up a show.

Skimming the names on the map, I'm picturing ... the theater, hotel/motel, diner, restaurant, stage-crew, party, committee that brought me there, and people -- sophisticated, friendly, old-fashioned, dull -- the way they talked, how they looked.

The Newsweek article discusses how these cities are getting to be more metropolitan, offering big-city clothes, theater, museums, restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, education -- all the life-style capabilities of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The Em Atlas is "experiential" -- each place is vivid, a real place to move to, if you want to do ... what? Maybe you want to grow, expand, be challenged, or perhaps you just want to adventure forth.

Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee -- noisy, huge theaters, boring hosts, expensive ... Columbus, Kansas City, Fort Wayne -- hard to navigate -- I got lost.

Nice-guys, good car-repair shops in St. Louis, Akron, Lansing, South Bend ... Cold, nasty weather in Green Bay, Davenport -- stuck in a snow drift in Des Moines -- driving during a tornado in Wichita.

Too many, too-too expensive motels/hotels in Peoria, Dayton, Bloomington, (Illinois & Indiana), but decent tourist homes in Rockford and Grand Rapids ... Don't know why, but I felt like an alien in Sioux Falls.

Friendly deans and college presidents in Michigan; also good shopping for shoes and tires ... Ann Arbor, Purdue (in Lafayette), everything overly computerized ... Bad show in South Bend, but bravos, hoots and whistles in Gary.

And more, more, more -- Fargo is great -- don't move to Muncie, or Fort Wayne -- Omaha is dusty -- skip Skokie and Evanston -- they're not what they're cracked up to be.

Consider spinning the globe and pointing -- heading where your finger lands. You make the mood. You make the possibilities -- but pick a college town -- that's where you'll find new ideas and old ideas, and much more communication.

My favorites in the "great great plains" -- St. Paul, Madison, Appleton, Dayton, Ann Arbor, Fargo, Iowa City, Columbia (Missouri), Lawrence, (Kansas).

(Montana, Idaho, and Colorado are great too --great looking, great feeling, great states to explore if you don't like the Midwest).

Do I really know all the cities on the list? Yes.

(Out of 100, I knew 73; applying the same math, I figure that out of 860 I'm reasonably expert on 645. I'm an excellent atlas -- been there -- done something-or-other there.)

Ask me, name a town and I'll give you my opinion.