Friday, May 25, 2012


I like Bryan Walsh. He's a reporter for Time. I've looked him up and seen a photo of him -- he looks as if he's in his forties, but I can't find any detailed background about him. I've read articles that he's written on a wide range of subjects -- weather, science, new inventions, computers, clothes, exercise, food. What he writes makes sense to me and often -- amazingly, quite often -- he educates me.

When I saw this bleak picture with the headline, "NATURE IS OVER," I winced. It seems to me Time, like Newsweek, like TV, headlines stuff to sell something -- an advertiser's product, the magazine, the TV station itself.

"Dammit, nature is NOT over," I was thinking, till I noticed the name below the headline -- the article was by Bryan Walsh.

Bang -- the first paragraph announced that a team of Russian scientists in Antarctica have just found Lake Vostok, a large sub-glacial lake -- water that's been sealed off, untouched by humans for 34 million years.

Not sure why that was hugely important, I read sort of absentmindedly and gathered a lot of anthropological terms, and lots of percentage numbers about "ecosystems" changing.

I heated up my coffee. Oh boy, the information that's been loaded into my brain about endangered things -- animals, birds, water, forests, melting icebergs, bad air, bad weather, new diseases -- it's almost overwhelming. This has been a year of negatives, unending polls/numbers/percentages -- I'm tired of thinking about where we are heading, politically and economically, thinking about the rebellions, the horrors -- all the bad stuff that's happening all over the world.

I sipped my coffee and I read on. What Bryan Walsh was reporting was loaded with words about the "Holocene age" that we've been in for the last 12,000 years. The word, derived from the Greek, means new and whole. Apparently now, right now, because there are now seven billion humans on earth and man is going to change to change the world in order to survive -- the geologists, and scientists have said that we entering the "Anthropocene age." ("Anthro" is man).

Walsh explained about these ages or epochs like a teacher, gathering and summarizing facts objectively. Not preaching or emphasizing what mankind has done by selfishly, harmfully ignoring environmental issues, he moved me into a new sense of reality.

He pointed out that nowadays we do many marvelous things to maintain and expand life. As an example of this, Walsh mentioned nuclear power that IS cleaner, better for the earth than the power we are currently using. I braced myself, expecting to hear again the doomful numbers, percentages, polls, summaries about what's happening in Japan. But Walsh, instead of reiterating all that, pointed out that the dangerous aspects of nuclear power can be conquered, even re-conceived.

Quoting a Nobel Prize winning environmentalist, he said, "'Our ability to comprehend the full extent of the human impact on earth puts us in a unique position as planetary gardeners, a responsibility we have no choice but to take on. We are as gods, and we have to get good at it.'"

I like that.

I like the thought that we are gardeners, that digging into and studying the 34-million-year-old Lake Vostok can help us figure out what's going to happen to the our planet in the next 10,000 to 20,000 years. It can help us figure out what we need to do as we keep growing.

For the first time, I find myself thinking that all the bad stuff that's happening here, happening all over the world -- those numbers/polls/ percentages/ surveys, may be moving us into a new reality.

Am I grabbing onto hope? If you dig into the word "anthropocene," you'll find, as I found, it is very current, new thought that many other people are digging into and finding hopeful,

Visit this link -- Welcome to the Anthropocene debate. Or click and read what Science Website says. about this; read what the NY Times said:

Or glance at this National Geographic video for a second. If you have time, watch the entire video, and-absorb the ideas for a while, and see where it takes you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Browsing in one of my magazines, I saw a photo of a luxury car, expensive dress, fabulously chic shoes -- the real price -- next to it, an amazing bargain price for each item.

I speed-read ahead, and learned about, a new Website. On, you can buy all sorts of luxury items at super-low bargain prices.

Like, apparently is booming. Already big investors are investing in it. The article went on and on about its IPO, (initial public offering), that's going to get millions of people signing up and buying the luxuries they crave.

I put a check mark on the page and attached a paper clip thinking "Well, maybe I could do a blog about this."

Big money stuff, a hot new Website selling luxury items that people crave, doesn't excite me these days the way they used to.

With my husband, John Cullum, I've bought a very expensive luxury car, considered buying a mansion, and haute couture clothes were certainly something I craved.

Maybe because I belong to yesterday -- am part of the previous generation or the one before that -- nowadays I don't think about or crave luxury, beyond what we have in our home -- 5th floor, our attic style bedroom at the rear of our loft, where sounds from the other buildings can't be heard. Right now I crave the luxury of privacy, peace and quiet, where I can think my own thoughts, remember things we did, re-visit hopes, dreams, and fun adventures.

I don't want to think about now -- bad stuff, troubles, race prejudice -- Florida boy shot, horribly ugly attacks on our president, silly sad war against women, scary bad laws that restrict voters, and so many countries where masses of people are poor, homeless, brutalized, and war, war, war looming.

My only comfort is remembering -- yes, it's comforting -- what our country, sweet land of liberty has meant to me -- wow -- still means to me now, more than ever.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Say "hero" and I think of Muhammad Ali lighting the torch at the opening of the Olympics -- float like a butterfly, sting like a bee -- his poetry -- his dancing in the ring, his quicksilver mind and the illness that slowed him, continues to slow him way, way down. And other stories of who he is and what he did, said, and has meant to our country and the world.

His arrogance, his powerful sense of his race, religion, and what it is to be black in white America hasn't faded. Whenever I see him, I feel again what I've felt about him since Cassius Clay refused to fight in Vietnam. Golly, what a hero he is, to me, a white woman who has never been able to sit through a boxing match, who loves, honors, respects, and is inspired by this man.

Say "heroine -- l immediately picture Nadia Comaneci. I don't know why -- maybe because I was so deeply into pointing my toes, stretching, perfecting ballet technical things that weren't natural to my body. And there she was -- pre-pubescent 13 or 14-year-old Nadia, calmly executing those complicated maneuvers.

She astounded me, (and amazed the world), with her confidence, her supple body, her graceful, seemingly effortless coordination of muscles and brain.

Nadia Comaneci is not a woman whose career I've continued to follow. I don't really want to hear how she and her husband train others and continue to build a business on what the teenager accomplished. The vision of 13, and 14 year old Nadia is so strong, so powerfully in my mind, it's as if it happened yesterday.

Roger Federer is a hero. I sort of squint at tennis -- don't follow the "love" score, and let the sportcasters' words fly over me -- "match point, ace, deuce, baseline, break point, double fault." My husband, John Cullum, is an expert, and what he says while we're watching tennis together --especially when we're watching Roger -- makes it extra-special fun.

Here's what I said in a blog I wrote about Federer, September of 2009:
"I almost didn't want to watch the tennis finals on Monday. I was afraid -- because Roger wanted to win so much -- that he might lose.

"Federer cried when he lost the Australian Open -- cried the first time he won Wimbledon. He didn't cry when he lost the finals Monday and that brought tears to my eyes. Federer's spirit, his ability to win -- I don't want him to lose what inspires me. "Right now I'm picturing him, thinking of how he must feel today and my sense is -- he's not mourning. Or reviewing what he might have handled better in the game that he lost. He's thinking ahead, planning what to work on before the next competition. Federer's direct connection to what's important -- Federer's ability to be on the moment at the moment -- that inspires me. That's what I feel, and learn, and want to emulate when I watch Roger Federer -- with keen coordination, keen focus and grace -- playing his game. He's a dancer."

And that's what I feel today. He's thirty, not number one right now, a husband and father, a winner, a champion. Winning or losing, ascending as he's growing older, Federer is a hero magnificently playing the game.

There are others -- names flood my mind -- Magic Johnson, Billie Jean King, Peggy Fleming and ... well ... while you're thinking of names for your list of heroes ad heroines, peruse these short videos of some of my favorite, most memorable moments.