Saturday, September 18, 2010


June 10th, last year, at the Gershwin Theater rotunda, JC was inducted into the actors' Hall of Fame. The ceremony was supposed to start promptly at 8 p.m. After working on his speech, he'd rushed off to check the microphone, calling, "Don't be late, Em!"

I fingered through the hangers in my closet, finally picked a black simple something, and elegant boots. It took an hour to dress, do hair and makeup. Then I took out the 5 white cotton socks in which I keep my jewelry. The gems on the rings are real, the cotton protects them from getting scratched or dusty.

I picked the Amethyst for my left hand, Emerald on the right. What does this have to do with Elizabeth Taylor? Well ... I'll explain later. It had been a chilly day. I slipped on my red-orange-yellow knitted coat -- it wasn't a warm coat ... gee, where was the event?

Only then, did I realize no limousine had been arranged, and I wasn't sure of the address.

Off with the rings, back into the sock, socks back in the drawer! Our top floor loft (where we live in Manhattan), is reasonably safe. The fact is, I'd let the insurance policy lapse when we were living in our Malibu log cabin.

We loved living on top of a winding hill, with a driveway you couldn't find unless we faxed you a map. That's why I put jewelry in socks. I had an abundance of socks -- writing and my daily excursions to the gym were my full-time job.

When I finally got to the theater for the award ceremony, there were no seats left. With a "shh," the usher opened the door and pointed. JC was on the stage in a spotlight. I heard applause, as I edged my way in -- JC was introducing the next honoree.

Whoops! Oops! About a week later, his manager told me that his speech, thanking producers, directors, agents, and managers, had started with a long, detailed, touching tribute to me.

Wow ... Will I ever learn that the fuss you make over how you look is not as important as the moment -- being there -- on -- in -- at the moment itself?

Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about me and my Elizabeth Taylor syndrome. Yes, I replayed the tape of JC's tribute -- yes --I think he loves me! So why have I mentioned Liz?

Click and you'll get my "Syndrome" blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I was stunned when I saw this on the cover of Newsweek!

wall street-loving

After I opened the magazine, I saw that it was a well-written, supportive article by Jonathan Alter. I looked at the cover again, I saw in very tiny print under the word president -- "who isn't any of these things."

That awful moment is gone but those words on the magazine's cover -- I keep hearing them on TV, seeing them in magazines and newspapers.

Every time I hear variations on those themes -- war-monger/Muslim/socialist/ etc. -- I find myself screaming oh my God, not another attack -- leave him alone, support him, who cares what you think, shut up!!!

The wrongness, the stupidity of those words paralyzes, infuriates me.

The counterattacking words on the tip of my tongue -- dammit -- the people who loved and voted for Obama, won't hear -- the media moguls won't hear nor will their experts. No, the opinionated experts (guys who crave attention), won't hear, don't hear because they've got a toe in the door of "now" and now is the time for them to become a name.

We, who voted for Obama, don't use newspapers for wrapping fish -- we've got plastic bags. We can email, vomit out tweets, vote yes/no/maybe in polls, sign petitions, text, chat online, or zip up our mouths, and just nod, shrug, and change the subject.

Oh please, c'mon -- why can't you voters hold onto what you felt, believed and already know about the man we elected? Why can't you continue to sense from his words, the look in his eyes, what he expresses about his wife, his daughters, their vacations, the games he plays, the clothes he wears, the look of him hurrying to a meeting in the morning, the look of him when he's relaxing -- (all those personal things that you check out before you fall in love, or decide NOT to) -- why oh why can't you hold on to what you feel?

Trust yourself, you know who Barack Obama is.

Trust yourself.

He's a good man, a born leader -- he knows what's going on. He's trying to fix what needs to be fixed in America and the rest of world.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A friend of mine who loved my post about chickens --"Silkies" for pets, thinks I should have a dog or two. She sent me this, saying the dog will fit right in with you and your family.



The reason a dog has so many
friends is that
he wags his tail instead of his tongue.


There is no psychiatrist in the world
like a puppy licking your face.

-Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth
that loves you more than he loves himself.

-Josh Billings

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like
never washed a dog.

- Franklin P. Jones

The average dog is a nicer person
than the average person.

-Andy Rooney

If your dog is fat,

you aren't getting enough exercise


My dog is worried about the economy
because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can.
that's almost $21.00 in dog money.

-Joe Weinstein

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous,
he will not bite you;
that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

-Mark Twain

Dogs are not our whole life,
but they make our lives whole.

-Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. -Phil Pastoret

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


How many pills do you take every day? I take 18 vitamins. At night when I can't sleep I try Benadryl, 25 mg. One doesn't always work; two sometimes does; three doesn't always work and my doctor says 75 mg. is a maximum.

What about prescription drugs?

What about addiction?

We've lost a lot of wonderful people to pill-popping.

Sometimes two acetaminophen (Tylenol). help me sleep; two aspirin work, but the doctor says "no" -- it reduces "platelets" (thins the blood).

What about the sleeping pill "Ambien?" NO! I sleep, but wake with depressive, weird thoughts that stay with me all day.

I know from personal experience with the Vicotin that my dentist gave me, that what the brain loves, it craves! Oh yes, Vicotin takes away dental pain, and wow -- what a great sleep I get. But if I don't take Vicotin the next night ... well ... okay just for two nights ... three?

There are other drugs to try. And new ones -- drugs for acute and chronic pain are rolling off the production lines.

The best sellers are Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Hyrocodone. Remember when Rush Limbaugh was arrested, booked, photographed, and fingerprinted, but not handcuffed -- released on $3,000 bail? Later he paid $30,000 to defray the cost of the investigation, completed an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician and got addiction treatment for using Oxycontin?

Okay, if someone's dying, addiction isn't a problem -- but pain pills for chronic pain are a serious problem.

Here's some numbers.

Three years ago, 5.2 million people used prescription "pain pills" non-medically. In 1990, deaths from non-medical pain pills was 6000. Three years ago, about 27,658 people, died from overdoses -- a combination of prescription drugs and booze.

Yes, there's a national epidemic of pill-popping, as well as accidental overdosing. "Pharmaggedon" -- that's what Dr. Barbara Krantz says. She is the head of the Hanely Center, , a residential addiction place, where people go for a cure, in West Palm Beach.

What's the solution?

Better surveillance from the alphabet soup of agencies -- the FDA (Federal Drug Administration), CDC (Center for Disease Control), SAMHSA, (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and the NIDA (National Institute of drug abuse)?

What about an electronic database of all the pharmacies? A law requiring drug companies to provide a better list of side-effects and more detailed instructions to doctors?

In my most down-to-earth, charming, "you can trust me" tone, I asked my friendly, reliable internist, "Are there any new pills for sleep -- can you give me a prescription?"

He suggested a glass of wine and counting sheep.

So I count chimpanzees, chanting Shakespeare -- "One chimpanzee, 'sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care,'" then "two," and get sometimes get to two-hundred plus, drift off, wake a few hours later, sip water, and drift off again.

Gee, I wish I could get at least four hours of continuous sleep. More wine, and a combo of pills? I don't want to get pickled -- a lot of people are getting pickled -- once your brain becomes a pickle, it can't go back to being a cucumber.

Got any suggestions for cucumber Em?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Hurray -- shall we wave little flags, toss the confetti, toot the little horns?

Ninety years ago -- August 26, 1920 -- the 19th Amendment was ratified and women could vote.

Wait a sec! It's not on my calendar -- I just happened to see an article about it on the Internet that listed some of the realities for women today.

She can be president; 20 world leaders are female; we've got 76 congresswomen, 16 senators. (16.8 % of Congress is female). The "Best Director" Oscar went to a woman for the first time this year (7% of last year's 250 top-grossing films were directed by women).

Sunday morning political shows are hosted almost exclusively by males, but of the 148 guest experts invited by the hosts, 20 were women.

Women graduate from college at higher rates than men; females are 3 % of "Fortune 500" CEOs; in law firms, approximately a quarter of law partners are female.

Yes, women have come a long way!

A lot of work has been done by "NOW," the National Organization for Women. It's the largest feminist organization in the nation -- 500,000 members, 500 local and campus affiliates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Two books "Second Sex," (Simone de Beauvior) and "Feminine Mystique" (Betty Friedan), got a giant snow ball rolling UP the hill to equality. Organizations like NOW got us Title IX (equality in sports-funding), legalization of abortion, and ERA passed (though not ratified), but we've got sexual-harassment and violence-against-women laws, equality in the military, and more funding for child care.

That's the laundry list and each item is important, but here's what's getting me: Women and girls, baby girls and older women are into sexy clothes, and the demeanor of the 60's that shouts look at me, desire me, want me!

It commands you to be hot-looking when you walk, stand, sit, talk -- requires you to wriggle into too-too tight jeans, thong underwear, display cleavage and boobs, paint blacker lashes, get puffier lips, buy-buy-buy beautifying potions, diet-pills, and exercise upside-down and inside-out to fascinate/seduce males, females, everyone.

It's saddens me. So much work was done by wonderful women and men, to make us equal.
Oh dear -- I find the slutty love-me-hot-and-ready females repulsive. Even the little little-girls happily dancing -- wriggling, doing bumps and grinds like Mommy does -- make me cringe.

You know, I think we were more equal in our bustles, floor-length-skirts, "S" girdles, high button necklines and shoes.

People opened doors, said please, may I, thank you -- didn't move in too close, made polite conversation, found out what you liked or disliked and carefully got to know you while you were getting to know them and that was a form of equality -- a respect for the facts that made you different people.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I kept the magazine commemorating Ted Kennedy's death last year.

I see the cover with his face every day. I've re-read that issue many times -- not just the articles about the Kennedy family -- I've browsed, and read once more about the hit movies, tennis news, was Michael Jackson's death a homicide, Lockerbie Bomber released from prison, Palestine/Israel, Mexican drug cartels, N.J. protests, and should we send more troops in Afghanistan ...

It sounds like now. Was it just last year?

Yes. There's Kennedy's face and the dates: 1932 -2009.

Kennedy, "The Liberal Lion in the Senate," called the expansion of health care his life’s work.

What this extraordinarily wise man wanted and believed in continues to echo. What would he think say, do -- about the problems we now have -- a Congress that fights the President, and makes what the President is doing for the country, more of a struggle?

Hey, maybe it's okay -- it's great, it's progress -- that we have so many commentators -- that people with mobile phones, tweeting, face-booking, are commentators -- that the paid professional commentators on television and radio, with their electronic stuff are talking back and forth with each other and their "name" guests, who talk/tell/ declare authoritatively what the country needs.

But I don't think so. I think it's talky-talk that's making the political parties and who's going to be the president in 2012, and what party will be in power the issue, not the issues themselves.

In the commemorative Time Magazine, Richard Lacavo said about Ted: "When he buried his nephew, he echoed Yeats' words that a man should 'live to comb gray hair.' Too many Kennedy men didn't, but Teddy did. In his long life, he carried many burdens -- leader of his family, icon of his party, voice of the dispossessed. His death cuts a cord to a shimmery past but leaves a legacy far into the future."

Ted's legacy -- that strong face -- I can see as I'm typing -- yes, he lives on in the things he did, believed in, fought for.

Ted walked with the President -- during that last months of Ted's life, he and Barack walked and talked, probably more than once.

I wish we could hear Ted Kennedy's words now, telling us as individuals, telling the commentators and Congress to focus on what the people of American need now.

I hear you Ted Kennedy, and echo -- yes, we need to walk down the road with the President and let him lead the way and go along with him to where he thinks we should go.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Some things are fun to discuss, for instance, how in the world John Cullum, who was not a singer, managed to get his first job in a Broadway musical.

Back in those days, John Cullum was working mostly as an understudy, doing bit parts for Joseph Papp's "Shakespeare in the Park," and going to auditions for musicals that he invariably flubbed!

Casting people asked auditioning actors to sing an up-tune, and a ballad. JC's up-tune was "Luck be a Lady" (from Guys and Dolls). He performed it with Em's choreography and it was exciting. But, the ballad he picked was "There But For You Go I," (from My Fair Lady), and the way John Cullum performed it was ... okay, but not wonderful.

And then ...