Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Time Magazine arrived with this photo, of a cloud inside a room in a house. An inventor has found a way to create it.  It's a complicated process that utilizes a fog machine and various ways to control atmospheric pressure. The cloud doesn't last long, but it's truly amazing.  The photo heralded the magazine's list: 25 Most Significant Inventions of 2012.

Donning my spectacles, I browsed the list.  I marveled at this blue ball which they've named Bounce. Wow! Police, firemen, soldiers on a reconnaissance mission -- people who are endangering their lives toss Bounce  into an area they want to enter. The ball is embedded with tiny cameras that catch and film everything. These heroic people can learn, from the computerized receivers they carry with them, what to expect and how to avoid being killed.  A Bounce costs $500.

Enable Talk Gloves

Wow, Enable Talk Gloves, $75.  Wearing them enables  speech and hearing-impaired people to communicate with those who don't use or understand sign language. The gloves are equipped with sensors that recognize sign language and translate it into text on a smart phone, which then converts the text to spoken words.

An inventor has created Wingsuit for gliding longer distances -- you can descend from a 5000 foot cliff to the grocery store in town. (Price: $600 to $2,000, depending on extra capabilities you want to have.) I'm hoping for the day when I can don a contraption when I visit JD, my son, a working actor in Hollywood -- see JD in a show and NOT have to drive on a California freeway.

Tesla 2
Thinking of speeding along in L.A., I'm impressed by the new Tesla 2,  this $49,000 electric sedan that looks like a Jaguar and goes 265 miles on a charge. Also on the best inventions list is a $200 tire, that repairs, re-inflates and fixes itself as you're driving.

The Motion Activated Screwdriver is $40.00. 
It's interesting, but for me ... well, I have an electric screwdriver I used to install a door-closing device. It was tricky -- the screws kept falling into my face, and I couldn't figure out exactly where it needed to go. Finally my husband uninstalled it and reinstall it, using his ordinary screwdriver.  Maybe he'll like the new one.

Maker Bot Replicaor
This Maker Bot-Replicator was heralded as a major new desk top tool at $2,199. It "prints" -- the design, and the model of it, extruding a plastic material -- for example, the architectural model of a house you designed. Hmm -- sounds las if it's something you've got to have if you're an inventor, which I am not.  

Google glasses
Google Glasses can be purchased for $1,500. It's a computer you wear like spectacles, that can record EVERYTHING you see and hear. Um ... why?

Hey, for $555, per suit, our Armed Forces can now provide body-armor for women who have been wearing improperly fitted, often, over-sized male armor. It doesn't look great or sound like a great invention, but it's good news for female soldiers.

Space suit
Browsing on, learning about new contraptions for household chores, war weapons, taking photos -- all those things we're dying to improve -- I read about NASA's Z-1, a new space suit with important, innovative capabilities.   What sticks in my mind is the fact that it's silver, and looks as if it's a silver prison; I'm not surprised that the price says  "classified."'

Land Rover
For studying what's on the planet Mars, there's the Curiosity  Land Rover -- it costs $2.5 billion.  (That's not a typo; it's b for billion.)

Hmm.  Being a blogger, who grabs what's in the air, I'm sort of compelled to share these new things with you. Maybe I'm stuck in a room with a cloud, or just not in the mood with Xmas shopping looming. The fact is, I'm not excited, or thrilled by any of this stuff, other than Bounce
In your own cloudless room, amble through the list  -- check it out for yourself: Time Magazine Best Inventions of 2012.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Have you yearned, prayed, wished you were famous?

I did, when I was a very little girl.

I poured over a book about Anna Pavlova, a great ballerina. I pasted pictures of a teenager who was studying with Balanchine on my wall. I devoured the stories about Isadora Duncan, a barefoot dancer who danced to "Beethoven's Fifth Symphony," had lots of lovers, and danced all over the world.

It occurred to me that the spirit of Isadora was in me. At the library, I took out books about transmigration of the soul, reincarnation, and palmistry, and studied the lines.
Wowy! My head, heart, success, travel, and relationship lines were great. I kissed my hand. The big, strong, deep crease smack-dab in the center of my palm, my fate line, said, "GO FOR IT" 

I went for it.

Later, after I became a dancer, something of  a name -- I was rising in the dance world;  my picture had been on the dance page of the NY Times, as well as Dance Magazine -- I put my mind on what I could do to become a big name.

I'd been in an automobile accident, broken my back, and recovered from partial paraplegia. What about using that?  

No -- I didn't want people to come to my performances with binoculars. Dance lovers often bring binoculars so they can scrutinize your legs, feet, and height of your arabesque -- details about a dancer that you note in photographs.  I felt the details distracted from what dancing really is, which is d a n c i n g -- movement that conveys joy, sorrow, curiosity, laughter, wonderment, fear -- any, or all of those feelings.

My husband, John Cullum, was already a name on Broadway.  Yes, we said, when Newsweek contacted us, and photographed and featured us in a half-page article. It was progress. We weren't famous but our parents and relatives were very impressed.
"Encore --The Private and Professional Life of Emily Frankel," the book that a sports writer wrote about my recovery, was published. I hired a press agent. She arranged a dozen interviews with T.V and radio hosts, and my appearance with Lauren Bacall on Bacall's opening night. My PR agent told me to gave away a lot of books.  I did, and did a "benefit" for the Lincoln Center Library -- danced --  performed for two nights at Lincoln Center.

It didn't make me famous. It made me feel ... what? Lucky to be alive, lucky to be able to use my husband's earnings to pay for a press agent -- lucky to be a dancer, who'd danced at Lincoln Center.

Okay, just recently, in Newsweek-Beast, I saw this "HOW TO WIN A GRAMMY" page. It was about a new group, "Alabama Shakes," that was suddenly hot, top of the charts.

Telling their tale, the article and it's black-balloons said, "write about kids;"  "wow a reviewer;" "blow up at CMI," (the band's management); "appear on 'Grey's Anatomy"  or 'Gossip girl;'" "rock on 'Saturday Night Live;"  snag a "spin" cover.

If you want fame, don't be naive, be skeptical. It took that band years to get where they are now. Are they famous? My dictionary says: "famous, (1) known by many people. (2) honored for an achievement. (3) informal, magnificent; synonyms: renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious."  I never heard of them. Have you? 

If you want to be really famous, put your mind on shocking us -- doing something utterly outrageous in an utterly inappropriate place. Consider being naked in a Lady Gaga half-on-half-off outfit, or screaming something shocking, or horrifyingly scary in a public gathering, and creating a panic. That will get you for 15 minutes of fame, which is probably less than a minute on TV's "Entertainment Tonight," and more than likely a fine, possibly jail time.

Advice, from a un-famous, would-be famouser: Do your work. Do one of your dreams -- build, make, create something --  or be magnificent, amaze yourself -- just jump in and help someone or some project with all your heart and soul and physical energy.

That's all you have to do. The rest is selling, promoting, hoping for good luck -- being at the right place at the right time.  And hoping.

Hey, I'm still hoping.