Thursday, July 2, 2015


I saw this photo six months ago in Time Magazine.

It's haunted me -- the row of V.I.P's seated on a stage, with WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM printed over their heads, and above their chairs. I wondered which of the world's huge problems they were trying to solve. They looked important. I wondered if that one woman in the picture was Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.

I checked. She wasn't in this picture, but she was at this conference, talking as she often does, about the role of women. No doubt about it, she's a very powerful woman who's affecting women throughout the world, but  "gender equality" is not one of my priorities.

Googling, I learned that the World Economic Forum. W.E.F. is an annual get-together in Davos, a mountain resort in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The attendees -- top business leaders, heads of state, ministers, CEO's of international organizations, heads of think tanks, religious leaders of different faiths -- come to these meetings to share what they and their countries are doing, learning, seeing, feeling, and fretting about. What they discuss will affect global decisions that will be made in the coming years.

W.E.F. was put together in 1971 by German-born Klaus Schwab, Professor of Business Policy at the University of Geneva. He liked the idea of top guys getting together in the relaxing environment of a luxurious ski resort, discussing this and that.

The get-togethers at the ski resort have grown over the years. Guys who attend proudly call themselves Davos men. The annual meeting this year was three days long with about 2500 notables from about 100 countries discussing technology's affect on people, gender equality, also health, education, poverty, climate change, and more. On YouTube, there are 127 videos of the January 2015 meetings.

I browsed. I have to admit, I get turned off by lectures, chats, discussions that are loaded with facts, numbers, percentages, polls -- all those facts that research corporations gather to make sure that we know that they are in touch with plain ordinary folks like us. So, I find myself wondering if everyone's impressed by W.E.F? Does anyone, other than me, feel sort of left out?

The fact is, ever since Sheryl Sandberg coined the idea of leaning in -- I know she lost her husband quite recently and feel sympathy for her -- even so, I've been leaning out. If women are, in fact, holding up the world, I don't want to be one of the holder-uppers.

Do their decisions affect you and me? Probably. What's discussed trickles down, and when 2500 Davos aficionados went home, as usual, it was shared, and affected local legislation, media, and business, which undoubtedly affected other regions, but it seems far away from anything that touches me and my life.

I read Al Gore's summary of the 5 most important things that come from these W.E.F. meetings  (Hey, I love Gore for what he said and did when George Bush was not quite elected back in 2000.) I read Gore's "First Important Thing." I struggled with his "Second Most Important Thing," got sleepy by the "Third," and never got the gist of the fourth and fifth things -- Gore's writing is about three degrees too abstract for me.

Hey, Sheryl, I bumped into this fact. In 2014, 17% more females were equal with males, up from 9% in 2000. (Mathematically that means it could be 81 years for women to reach economic equality with men.)

Other highly regarded men feel W.E.F's global views are not very significant. One of them mentioned how long it takes new ideas to take hold -- it took 50 years for the benefit of electricity to filter through our county.

Well, Davos guys, even if it does take another 49 years, big thanks for helping to shape and focus the world on the environment, climate, health, and racial equality.

Hey, racial things -- that's major important  right now -- hurray World Economic Forum -- that touches all of us Americans -- that certainly touches me!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The Andreas Fault -- we heard about it constantly when we lived in Malibu during the mid nineties.

Pictures of what happened in 1994, because Los Angeles was built on the Andreas Fault, scared us. Based on a barrage of advice from newspapers, TV. and neighbors, we prepared an emergency kit,  and a "What To Do" plan for the "big one."

WHOA! Wait a minute! This past July, The New Yorker, with data to prove it, said Seattle and Portland will be wiped off the map. The northern part of the Andreas Fault that Californians fear, becomes the Cascadia Fault that actually threatens to wipe Portland off the map and make Seattle unlivable.

Michio Kaku, the City College of New York professor and physicist, who is considered a major authority on this subject, announced that this troubling article did not overstate the danger. Kaku said Hollywood has "brainwashed" people into thinking that California is where the next massive earthquake will hit. He stated, "The Cascadia Fault is an earthquake waiting to happen. We know it's going to happen with an energy 30 times the maximum energy of the San Andreas Fault."

He explained that before the mega-quake actually hits, there is a compression wave that is detected by animals. "Animals start to act very strange. We've seen that happen before earthquakes. Then, a minute, two minutes later, boom!" The massive quake, with a magnitude of up to 9.2, would last about four minutes, according to seismologists, with a wall of water following about 15 minutes later. Kaku expressed concern for many of the 70,000 residents in the potential "inundation zone," who have very little knowledge about this risk -- "It barely rates on the radar screen," he said.

When a  reporter asked Kaku whether he would live in the Pacific Northwest if he had children, Kaku said, "I'd think twice," and advised residents to educate their children on emergency preparedness -- "Teach them what to do in case of an earthquake."

Kenneth Murphy, who directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region X -- FEMA's division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska -- has said, "Everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast."
       The area of impact will be about one-hundred-and-forty-thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Olympia (the capital of Washington), and in Oregon, Eugene, Salem (the Capital), and some seven million people.
       It will be the worst natural disaster in the history of North America, since three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake; two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina; three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy.
       FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Twenty-seven thousand will be injured. FEMA will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.

If you don't live near Region X, when you hear about this looming disaster, you can't help thinking "Whew!" Quietly glad because you aren't living there, you wonder if you lived there, would you move?  Relocate to another area?

I think you turn away, close off, stop speculating, and prepare for the emergency the way Californians have been preparing, the way we did when we lived there, the way our son who lives in North Hollywood has prepared.

Banish fear? Yes. Don't deal with looming disasters? Yes. Believe that things will be okay for you and those whom you love? Yes, go with that feeling. The stronger your sense of survival is, the more likely you are to survive.

Looming disasters such as lightening strikes, devastating fires, terrorist fears, even the madman with a gun fears -- cannot be dealt with. In order to live, you have to live day to day -- with hope, even an inner smile anticipating a better tomorrow.


The smartphone you cherish and utilize every day is cherished  and used by  3.5. billion other guys.

Kevin Maney, a down to earth editor at Newsweek, predicts we are going to rely less on our phones!

Hey, no way Jose.    It's my do-everything assistant

Kevin M, who happens to be an exceptionally knowledgeable journalist, says our attention is already shifting from the screen in our hand, to the sky above. He quotes a December survey that says five years from now we probably won't be using smartphones. People will access apps in more convenient ways. Like cars, for example -- they'll connect to the network, respond to voice commands, display lists and maps on the windshield. Like banks or iTunes -- you’ll just say "pay electric bill," or "play this week's hit song."

Apple's Siri, Google Now, and Amazon’s Echo are already heading in that direction -- no phone is needed. The tech is still rudimentary, but The Cloud and artificial intelligence will soon enable us to use other devices -- smartwatch, eyeglasses, touch-screen kitchen counter, car-- or Nest, Fitbit, Occulus Rift, or a gizmo implanted under your skin that responds to voice commands. No more user names or passwords -- your ID is your voice, face, or fingerprint.

A top Google executive said, "We won't use apps the way we do now.  The goal has to be to 'de-silo' -- unbundle apps, so Google, Siri, or Echo can mix and match app services to do the task you requested. What will you carry around? Some small gadget -- pocket screen for watching videos, news stories, and taking pictures -- it'll merely be an adjunct -- you won't need a smartphone."

Gee, -- no more looking down at a little screen?  We'll see real people?  We'll sit next to a person on a  bench,  and say "hello," "how are you today," or "nice weather" and chat?

Have a conversation? ? ? ? ?

Well ... It'll could be ...  an adventure, learning to connect to folks and relate to other guys with words you actually, out loud, into the air  S P E A K.


it might be ... interesting ... exciting...                

Monday, June 29, 2015


What does John Cullum do when he has 'free" time?

Along with two music-writing projects, fixing things around the house, seeing and doing readings for new plays, John's real passion is tennis. He also loves to read.

Knowing that he used to love to play tennis, Emily gets her husband to explain why he reads, reads, reads, reads.