Saturday, March 19, 2011


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, says her mission is to put women and girls at the forefront of the new world order.

I pay attention to Hillary. While she's been growing up, so have I, so I'm all ears. What she's been through, you and I have shared -- not specifically woman-to-woman shared with Hillary herself, but nevertheless, you and I have experienced a lot with her.

(I have pictures in my mind of young Hillary -- the eagerness, the expectancy in that face with the dark eyebrows that made me realize that she was bleaching her hair, and so many other pictures of other Hillarys.)

She's been talking about women and girls -- how important a focus it is for her, ever since Tunisia -- and during a very recent broadcast from the State Department, Hillary said, “I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st Century.”

Gee! That's a big blanket statement -- more than a statement --it says to me, "hey, she's talking about YOU."

Two years into her tenure as America’s 67th secretary of state, she has out-traveled every one of her predecessors -- flown 465,000 air miles and visited 79 countries. Her Boeing 757’s cabin, stocked with a roll-out bed, newspapers, and a humidifier, now serves as another home as she zooms between diplomatic hot spots, tackling the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tensions with Iran and North Korea, the Arab-Israeli peace process, and, now --one after another -- the Middle East upheavals.

She's defying jet lag, though her hoarse voice and bleary-eyed look occasionally remind me that she is not leading the life of the former first lady and senator from New York, the female presidential candidate whom we were ready to elect until Obama overwhelmed us.

And she was never the loser in the presidential race. She works with him and for him, and now, wow -- she has declared, "Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes—the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.”

That's more than a mouthful. I'm digesting that -- nodding --aware that she's more at ease with herself, more relaxed lately, despite her schedule. Even her constantly changing hair style and her choice of tailored pantsuits convey that she's happier, more comfortable with how she looks.

Do you feel the new Hillary -- rounder face, warm smile? Am I imagining that her smile is warmer somehow?

Our State Department’s 2012 fiscal-year budget request includes $1.2 billion in programs specifically targeting women. Though it's been announced that $832 million will go toward global health initiatives, it can't be analyzed item-by-item and compared with previous years -- the State Department only started tracking women-focused dollars in 2010.

Are we going to see Speaker of the House Boehner and snarling Republicans demanding State Department budget cuts? I have my ear muffs ready, and I suspect that most of my friends have them also.

Clinton says she is currently moving the discussion beyond a reliance on her own celebrity, and making it international. At the State Department, her goal is reflected in a new and sweeping strategic blueprint known as the "Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review." QDDR.

I hate acronyms. I try not to use them. I am using QDDR because it's an important, long-term idea.

By institutionalizing QDDR , Clinton says she hopes her successors will continue what she has started. She has stated, unequivocally, that she wants this effort, this work, this goal, to continue and expand beyond her presence. in the State Department.

Will Clinton stay on in a second Obama term? Will she make another White House run in 2016? Bill Clinton joked recently that his wife now covets the title of grandmother far more than that of commander in chief. Where is she really heading? Well ... Do I know today where I'm heading? As Hillary's evolved, so have I. I am attached to her -- we have grown up and are growing older, growing wiser together.

Hillary Clinton sticks to her word. She has said, quite a few times in the past few months, that she is getting ready to take a break from public life. Asked whether she worries her eventual departure from the State Department will endanger the future of her mission, Clinton admits that she's feeling a great weight of responsibility.

She said, "It is why there are 133 references to women and girls in QDDR. It is why I mention the issue in every setting I am in, and why I mention it with every foreign leader I meet." Hillary goes on cheerfully, “It is like any challenge. You just keep at it, take it piece by piece, seize the ground you can, hang onto it, and then move forward a little bit more.” She pauses. “And we are heading for higher ground.”

I got it. Okay, things may happen that move her in other directions or a different direction personally, but I'm convinced.

I am holding onto Hillary Rodham Clinton's powerful, wonderful words about the rights of women and girls being the unfinished business of the 21st century.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Exercise options -- you can ignore them all, but how many times have you heard from doctors that exercise must become a part of your daily life?

You can buy an expensive major machine, and IF you learn to use it ... well ... even if you conquer it, more than likely, sooner or later, it will end up in a closet and haunt you for years.

You can buy a sure-fire, guaranteed: something for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Um hmm ... You can send it back for a 100 percent refund, no questions asked, guaranteed. Uh huh ... But you won't send it back -- it'll live in that closet, or maybe you'll give it a friend.

What do I think?

I tried to DO Yoga. I took few classes, but I didn't really want to learn how to breathe, and I didn't like the humming -- I didn't feel comfortable in the special, sort of pretentious, out-of-this-world atmosphere.

The positions are mostly easy for me to do, because of my dance background, but that basic Yoga sitting position -- well, it never suited me. Nope. I am not happy, sitting with my legs crossed, and my knees flat on the floor.

Gee Em, why didn't you stretch and learn to do it?

Because I was learning to do ballet things like brisés and split grand jetés (leaps), and was, like most professional dancers , obsessively concerned with pointing my toes.

And, I didn't want to be embroiled with methodology, and all the styles -- Pure Yoga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini. -- and all the history. The philosophical mumbo-jumbo of what you should have on your mind while taking a Yoga pose made a Yoga class, for me, exhausting before I ever learned the basics.

Yes, I tried "Pilates" -- actually met Joseph Pilates, and instantly disliked his Germanic bullying ways, and his "apparatus" -- resistance springs, Trapeze Table, High Chair, Ladder Barrel, Spine Corrector, etc. Instead, I worked with Carola Trier, who used Pilates' apparatus. She was impressively skinny, and constantly demonstrating her own flexibility, holding her leg up over her head (split high). Anyhow, I learned from Trier how essential it is to exercise one's abdominal muscles. It's a law about staying in shape, a law I still obey -- use your abs or lose strength, (and your stomach-in, stand-tall posture.

So should you do Yoga? Or Pilates, or something similar? Yoga is booming in Hollywood and New York -- celebs and ordinary guys are doing it -- improving their bodies and souls. My friend who is a Yoga instructor says, "Transcend your ego and discover your inner humility."

If you like the atmosphere and the transcendental talk, it's definitely an option. In New York city it costs $17 to $20 per class, less perhaps, if you sign up for a course, but don't sign up until you check it out.

What about joining a gym? It can be helpful -- pushing up and down on various machines keeps you busy, and you may sweat, though you probably will not lose weight. You lose weight by eating less and exercising makes you want to eat more. Working out in a gym is NOT what I'd recommend -- it's boring, seriously boring, after a month or so.

Ballet classes can be fun -- no matter how out-of-shape you are, though a classroom full of mirrors can be seriously distracting/distressing/depressing. I suggest that you observe what your classmates are wearing, and be sure what you wear is similarly attractive and doesn't restrict your movements. A beginners ballet class can cost $8 to $10. I recommend trying two classes a week, but don't sign up for a bunch of classes until you try ballet for at least two weeks.

If you don't want to spend money or take classes, walk. Don't wander, have a destination -- visit a park, or try shopping in a store on the other side of town. Try a mile, and then, try more than a mile. Walking is also something you can do while standing tall, (not all the time but some of the time). Trying using your abs whenever you see a red car, or a traffic light, or a stop sign.

Yoga, Pilates, working out at a gym, ballet (or jazz or tap, ballroom, any kind of dance class) -- or depending where you live -- swimming, roller- skating, biking -- all are possibilities. But the one and only SURE-FIRE, GUARANTEED exercise that I recommend is walking. Walking alone or talking-walking with a friend.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


"Sorry About All the Bombs" was the title of an article on William Powell, who wrote "The Anarchist Cookbook." It was in Newsweek last month -- a thoroughly detailed story about the guy who wrote the book 40 years ago and what he has become today.

The book is a guide to everything illegal from hash cookies, to tear gas, dynamite, and TNT. There are tips on demolition, surveillance, sabotage, and hand-to-hand combat, including how to behead a man with piano wire and make a knife “slip off the rib cage and penetrate the heart.”

This 160-page volume has sold more than 2 million copies. Police have linked it to Croatian radicals who bombed Grand Central Terminal and hijacked a TWA flight in 1976; the Puerto Rican separatists who bombed FBI headquarters in 1981; linked it to Thomas Spinks, who led a group that bombed at least 10 American abortion clinics in the mid-1980s; and the 2005 London public-transport bombers.

Last spring, British white supremacists used the book to make a jar of ricin. Police and judges tried to ban the book. The book’s Arizona-based publisher refuses to stop publishing it.

The work lives on, but since 1975, Powell has been renouncing what he penned.

William P. dropped out -- way-way, far-far out. He signed on as chief timekeeper on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. He volunteered as an English instructor in a home for disturbed boys. He moved back into his parents’ house in Westchester, volunteering as a special-ed teacher, earning a master’s degree in English, and eventually landing a paid teaching job upstate, where he met the Chinese woman who became his wife.

He tried to forget about the destructive cultural force that bore his name, and that has been his journey ever since then.

Earlier this month, almost 40 years to the day he became a best-selling author, Powell flew from Beijing where he and his wife work as education consultants, to San Francisco, where, in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt, some 500 members of the Association for the Advancement of International Education gathered to give Powell a lifetime-achievement award.

Practically the next day, the FBI released documents saying, “We have studied the contents of the book itself, as well as the information contained in the Bureau reports. We have concluded that the book does not urge ‘forcible resistance to any law of the United States."

As you read this are you thinking what a horrible thing he did -- what a shame -- my God, how can he repay society for what he did? Are you tut-tutting about stupid young radicals -- sputtering what a waste -- shouting inwardly -- "YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG?"

(Ever since I wrote about the new young generation, I've gotten email messages quoting that Bernard Shaw quote.)

I think youth is NOT wasted on the young. Powell did what he did, and with youthful fire, passion and energy, has spent his life teaching, inspiring young people (inspiring me), about "common sense" radicalism -- showing us how we can continually reinvent ourselves and grow.

Youth can do -- just DO, because of deep belief in whatever it is -- DO and disregard fear, quash intellectual, careful consideration of possible ramifications that say don't do anything.

I think the ability to DO is precious. The you that can DO -- that's YOU. The you, the person you see in the mirror (even as you are noting the changes and aging in your face), you are seeing YOU, and it's a gift -- the supreme gift from the Gods. .

I am celebrating the youth, the young energy that's bubbling-over in the mid- east right now, and the younger generation's determination to have a chance to elect and change their leaders, and end corruption.

I celebrate my youth. I stand tall. I have NOT outgrown my youthful mind -- I cherish it. I keep striving and listening to my inner voice. I hear it better now, though my hearing is less sharp than it was when I was younger.

I can do more, and DO it better because I cherish and support the youth in myself.

Water the plant YOU! Be young till the last day of your life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Oy vey!

Nuclear doom is spreading?
CBS says it is?
NBC says it isn't?

Nuclear power is what we need?
Nuclear power spells DANGER?

Reactor core is exploding? Reactor core is intact?
An inner core is in an outer core ?
What's exploding?

They've evacuated how many yesterday?
How many evacuated today?
They're scanning how many of them for radiation exposure?

Nuclear dust'll kill you?
You can wash it off in the shower?

Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists says, "You could have the fuel overheating and melting ... the possibility of large scale radiological release exists!" NBC's expert, Robert Bazell says it's very unlikely.

What's the death toll now?

My God, it's worse than ... than what happened in Haiti? Cholera? Starving homeless kids ? Where's Sean Penn now?

And Charlie Sheen -- is he off his rocker? Repubs wanna kill Social Security? They're still arresting immigrants? Should I donate and save those beautiful dogs? My privacy's gone? Everything I do on line is watched, and sold?

Oy vey -- what's the VERY worst thing -- is THAT gonna happen next?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I watch Judge Judy, and it relaxes me. I watch Judge Joe and I'm entertained.

Judge Judy's fake smile during her opening credits while Beethoven plays her theme song -- it's amusing. Her saucy remarks -- "I eat fools like you for breakfast -- this is my play pen, not yours, so close your mouth and put on your listening ears" -- I love her waspish comments and scoldings.

Judge Joe is more of a pal -- I like his intelligence, practical experience, his honesty and sense of humor. When litigants are acting really selfish or ridiculously greedy, Joe just tells the truth with a grin -- "you're wrong. -- you're being a boor."

Both shows have enough suspense to keep me involved. And take my mind off whatever I'm sort of not wanting to think about, or do.

I can have my own inner dialogue about the dumb-bunny plaintiffs or defendants complaining, um-umming, making mountains out of molehills. Even when the show's about a serious legal matter, I can take sides and not think about the serious bad stuff in the news -- every day messier/more so issues being spelled out for the White House, the nation, the whole damn world.

The best time for Judge Judy is at 10 p.m. when I'm winding down. Judge Joe perks me up in the middle of the day -- click -- there's down-to- earth friendly Joe Brown, giving good advice.

Judy inspires me to say what's on my mind when I'm answering annoying comments on my blog. And Joe, inspires me to pay attention to needy folks and say more constructive things.

Hey, a little Judy, a little Joe, and I'm refreshed. Sometimes, after a judge show, I can actually make a good decision about whatever I've been sort of mulling over in the back of mind.

Off goes the TV! On goes the light in my head!

Monday, March 14, 2011


What this Scott Walker is winning is a place for himself as a "name" in politics.

His "name" means turn back the clock. He got the bill passed that he wanted to get passed. The media called what he did a Coup''D'Etat. '

By severing the financial part of the bill Wisconsin just passed (which couldn't be passed without absent Democrats) from the part eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public employees, Wisconsin Republicans have made it crystal clear that their goal has had nothing whatever to do with the state budget. The goal is to bust the unions.

That's no surprise to most of us who have watched this conflict from the start, but like any coup d'etat, its ultimate outcome will depend on the public. If most citizens of Wisconsin are now convinced that Walker and his cohorts are extremists, willing to go to any lengths for their big-business patrons (including the billionaire Koch brothers), those citizens will recall enough Republican senators to right this wrong.

But it's critically important at this stage that Walker's opponents maintain the self-discipline they have shown until this point. Governor Walker would like disorder to break out in Madison. Like the leader of any coup d'etat, he wants to show the public his strong-arm methods are made necessary by adversaries whose behavior can be characterized by the media as even more extreme.

We have to remember, we are a nation of laws, and those laws prevail. The "People's Party" (that's what the media calls Walker's supporters), is growing across America and the actions of Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues are giving it even greater momentum.

Similarly, the actions of congressional Republicans in D. C, are using the threat of a government shutdown to strong-arm their way in Washington.

The American public may be divided over many things, but we stand united behind our democratic process and the rule of law. We reject coups in whatever form they occur.

What does this mean to you and me? .

It means do nothing. there's nothing to do yet. But I foresee this as a new sort of Tea Party-ish collection of angry people, who are anti-Obama, who want him out of the White House, who want to win the next election. Nothing is happening in Boehner's Congress except talk-talk about cutting the financial debt, talk-talk about keeping the Bush Tax Cuts (for the rich), which, in fact, created most of debt.

We should be broadcasting on loudspeakers the truth about this -- IF the Bush Tax cuts are vetoed, we would not be arguing, negotiating, talk-talking about billions of cuts in programs like social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, education ... on goes the list of what the Republicans have said they want to cut.

So I'm just listing things because I don't know what else to do. I feel stuck. I'm frustrated, and frightened at the thought that the progress that has been made, progress that makes it possible for average Americans to live a good life in our country, is now threatened by Walker's personal push for fame, glory, and power.

Will Walker run for President with Palin? Or get hooked on as VP for Romney? Will Huckabee grab him?

Sit tight folks, hang on, and pray that the courts, the laws of the land will find a way to stop Governor Scott Walker from infecting others -- other states, other governors, other people with this -- whatever it is -- that has him destroying what America means to me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

WORRYING (video)

Emily Frankel is amazed that John Cullum is not a worrier. She wonders if it has something to do with the way he was brought up.

He sings "Lazybones!" And reveals it is a lazybones sort of thing. He just can't worry, even before an opening when the pressure is on him. He just isn't worried.

Cullum's extensive preliminary work on learning a part -- any part -- even if it's just a reading, or preparing for an audition for a commercial, or a part he isn't enormously interesting in playing -- means he digs in, studies the lines, reads anything that comes to his mind, that might shed light on the character.

Clearly, his extensive preparation processes eliminate worry.

Emily admires him for it.