Saturday, September 24, 2011


If you are planning to move to New York City, bring your tools.

Why? Because when things break down in New York, you can spend hours and hours trying to get help, get what's not working fixed or replaced -- and things do wear out --windows won't open, doors, walls, ceilings, bathrooms develop problems, appliances break down,

John Cullum describes his recent labors around their home, explaining that you need to know how to jerry-rig things. His advice: " Get a book, and make sure you have tools." Aside from the fact that service people in New York cost anywhere between $80 and $150 an hour, it can take weeks to get a fixer, or a broken part replaced.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Yes she's amazing. Yes, she looks beautiful. Yes, she knows a lot and she shares it.

Her newly done face bothers me. When comedienne, Carol Burnett, one of TV's most brilliant creative performers, had her face fixed, it bothered me.

A familiar face is familiar -- you do more than recognize it. You are traveling along in your life with a face that's like your own face -- changing (okay, maturing), growing older along with you.

Older --the word doesn't bite, but, well, maybe your attitude does.

The Fonda who has made mistakes, survived, reinvented herself, apologized, I admire. She's a doer. The Fonda with the new face declares strongly she is a doer. Though what she's doing now is more or less the same -- promoting her new book, selling her know-how about love, sex, and exercise.

But it isn't the same. With plastic surgery, she's done something major to herself. Announcing it, she's calling attention to herself in a way that's bound to get extra special attention -- her latest very personal revelations are like stripping off her clothes.

Why? Well, maybe Fonda feels that her exercises (which she's touting as refurbished, updated for an older body) are more important than ever. Maybe because her life as a divorced woman, right now, has been wonderfully enhanced by her younger look-- she feels that she's back in the swim -- breast stroking, floating, gracefully paddling along and doing better than women who are 10 years younger.

Is she? Well, here's the show-biz-wise Em's "yes." Jane Fonda is back in the marketplace for lovers, admirers, fans, jobs.

Personally, I don't really want advice from another woman who had surgery to transform herself. -- to me that means what she was before the surgery bothered her, upset her, depressed her. She's fixed lines in her forehead, bags under her eyes, tautened her cheeks, and neck.. She looks good. (She'll look better to me when her face muscles settle in on the new Fonda.)

But her latest aphorism is "It's much more important to be interested than interesting."

And she's making herself more interesting by talking about sex, and obviously she's looking for work -- leading roles, challenging parts that will enhance her career -- yes, mothers, mother-in-laws, grandmothers, but a younger matriarchal strong woman looks better on film. The camera has a cruel, harsh eye. So maybe more roles, better roles, will be coming her way.

So stop. Shut up, stop complaining, Em -- the New Fonda created by Fonda will keep her working in movies and on the stage.

Maybe what's making me uneasy is ... should I, could I, do I need to do what she's done?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


When did it happen, that the Media became the adviser to the President, to the White House, to the nation, to the world?

The media is a bunch of salespeople, educated, nice looking sales clerks who are shaping your life and mine.

They are vocal, assured. They've got big words and factual references that a staff digs up. They're telling Obama what the "global new deal" ought to be, and selling the media's new deal prospectus to us.

Yes, selling it. And they themselves are gussied up, advised, directed by advertising experts in convincing the market place -- that's us, the audience. They're putting down, demeaning, minimizing, psychoanalyzing Obama. They're patting him on the back with condescending compliments -- "Obama's nice idea is all wrong," and showing photos of his downcast, worried face.

They are Joe the plumber. We are Joe the plumber. Yes, I'm Joe the plumber, but I stand back and look at the words like birds in the air -- pigeons flapping their wings and dropping their excretions wherever, whenever nature calls.

We have Pew Polls, Gallup, Nielsen, Rassmusssen, YouGov, Zogby, Ipsos, Harris, etc etc. We have preachers, politicians, commentators, authors, editors, staff writers, all manner of news personnel birding out strong convictions, judgments, critiques.

I can't plug my ears. I don't close my eyes. I like to see the lay of the land -- squint sometimes and see the sparkle dust in the air. But statistical numbers and warnings are opinion shapers that confine me to what the media ladies and gents are selling.

Also, we've got housewives from everywhere, Jersey shore folks, winners, losers, celebs, talky talking telling their tales about nothing and nasty news, nifty news, nerdy news, all the latest news about e v e r y t h i n g.

None of it is news. It's views. It's do-do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


What about those doomsday predictions? Bombs, another 9/11 disaster, what about the end of the world in 2012?

John Cullum says he's not superstitious, but nevertheless, he pays attention to the don't whistle, knock on wood traditions, and develops a few superstitious routines in rehearsal that he maintains during the run of a show. For instance, Cullum goes over certain lines before each performance -- makes his entrance, the same "good luck" way.

Do the Cullums believe in fortune tellers? ESP? NO, they both say. Yet they chat about the plans they made, a long time ago, in fact, about where to meet IF disaster hit New York.