Saturday, December 31, 2016


What a song -- what a gathering of people who gave us this song to sing. And today, again, like last year, and the year before and now -- right this minute -- this is a song that expresses what we are feeling.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Here's where Barack and Michelle Obama, and their daughters will be living.

It's a 9-bedroom mansion with 8.5 baths, in the Kalorama section of D.C. about two miles from the White House. Barack Obama said they'll live there for at least two years while their youngest daughter, 15-year-old Sasha, finishes high school.

Photos and videos describe this mansion as "swanky, splendiferous, glamorous." There are rooms for everything -- work, research, recreation, exercise, pets, guests and guests' kids, a suite for Michelle's mother, accommodations and parking for assistants and servants, as well for U. S. Secret Service Guards who guard former presidents and their families.  

The Obamas have also acquired a California home in Rancho Mirage where there are world-class golf courses. The town has been the unofficial West Coast Camp David for other presidents. Right now, for the holidays, the Obamas are at their vacation home in Hawaii.

Yes, it's a WOW  of  home -- what they deserve after more than eight years of working for us -- a home sweet home where Michelle will continue working for us on her various projects, where Barack will continue working for us, our country, and people everywhere in the world. He's had the whole world in his hands. Undoubtedly, he'll continue to work on the many issues that are life and death important for the whole world

If you want to see more, you'll enjoy this second, longer video. 

Interesting facts:  
This 8,200 square foot brick Tudor mansion, owned by White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, is currently valued at $7 million. Though we don't know what the Obamas are paying for it, it would cost  $22,000 a month to rent, according to Lockhart's real estate agent, who lists the house as meticulously renovated with courtyard space for 8-10 vehicles. The mansion is next door to a former congressman,  down the street from the French ambassador's residence, around the corner from the oldest house in the city, and about a half mile from the D.C.home of Hillary and Bill Clinton. 

Friday, December 23, 2016


John Cullum reads the famous poem.

We made this video sometime ago. Each year we enjoy watching and hearing it again, and again -- like children, delighting in the way John tells the famous words.

Monday, December 19, 2016


Excerpt from my novel "Splintered Heart." Is Marian Melnik me? Yes, AND no. All the characters in my novels are aspects of me. But this is not a story about me.

It was at Christmas time, when Marian Melnik was seven-years-old, that she had learned about praying.

The Melnik family was Jewish. They were not synagogue-goers. They were agnostics. Marian's father had explained it all to her in a cherished moment of real grown-up conversation.

"I'm an agnostic my dear, not an atheist. Atheism is something different." Anatol Melnik explained the difference to Marian carefully -- that there was a God but God wasn't necessarily Jehovah, Jesus, Buddha or the Lord. You could make up your own idea of God if you were agnostic.

Sometimes, when Daddy talked about things like that, Marian could not help but let her mind wander. She would think ahead for big words to say, to show she understood. She knew her Daddy loved her smartness. He would smile, not his small-sized smile, but his big one, when she managed to surprise him with a new big word.

"I absolutely comprehend," Marian said when her father was finished. And she did understand. Christmas was for Christians, not for agnostics.

Most all the children in the private school were Christians. The school was filled with red, blue, green, gold and silver decorations. There was a Christmas tree with colored lights, colored balls, and tinsel in her classroom. There was going to be a Christmas party with candy canes, grab bag gifts, and Christmas carols.

Marian's best friend, Mary Ellen Warner, was a High Episcopalian and she was going with her family to Acapulco for Christmas and New Year's. At Marian's home, the holidays meant that she didn't have to go to school.

Agnostic was O.K., at least it made Marian one of a kind. Not "run of the mill" which was what Mary Ellen said about the Lutheran,  Protestant, and Presbyterian girls in their class.

Marian tried to pray agnostically. She had been reading about Joan of Arc, who had talked to God and heard voices. Marian tried talking to her idea of God in her mind. She wanted Him to talk to her about Mamma.

Mamma stayed in bed most of the time. She was either tired or she had a headaches, or both things.

Daddy said, "Marian, I want you to promise that you will be brave and strong. And very gentle with Mamma. You've got to be a very extra-special child for while."

In the bathroom with the door locked, Marian looked it up in the Medical Book. She couldn't find out about "Tired" and "Headache" but she found out about Polio, Scarlet Fever, Sex, Spinal Meningitis, Syphillis, T.B. and Whooping cough.

She was terribly worried about keeping the promise that she'd made to Daddy. She prayed agnostically, that she wouldn't get one of the horrible diseases or the tired headache like Mamma.

All the girls in Marian's class expected dolls, and the boys were hoping for radios or bicycles. Everyone knew it was parents who gave the presents, but the talk was still of Santa Claus and what Santa Claus might be bringing them.

"I know Santa's bringing me a doll with a wardrobe, a pearl necklace, and a Punch and Judy puppet theater," said Mary Ellen Warner. "What about you, Marian?"

"Probably my parents are going to give me an Encyclopedia Britannica." An encyclopedia had already been ordered, not for Christmas but for the family's general self-improvement.

"An encyclopedia?" Mary Ellen Warner wrinkled her nose the way she did when a boy came over to play with them.

"Actually, I think I'm probably getting a Bulova watch and a string of cultured pearls and also probably a piano!" That impressed Mary Ellen Warner. When Mary Ellen got too snobby or stuck up, Marian had to invent ways of making her shut up.

"Couldn't we celebrate Christmas just this year, Mamma?" Marian asked wistfully. Occasionally, Mamma would say 'yes' to things without a great deal of fuss, but Mamma just said the usual -- "You'd better ask your father."

The thing about Christmas was not just the presents. It was the decorations and the music. All the children's voices lifted in song -- it made Marian feel as if she were part of a huge family holding hands around the equator of the world.

The shiny fragile balls on the trees -- she wished she could have one of each color, just to hold them, look into them and see herself reflected. The icicle tinsel -- she wanted that too -- it looked like silver fringe for a ballerina gown.

Last birthday, Marian's Daddy had taken her to Radio City Music Hall. She never would forget the vision -- the girl dancing with her Prince, her crown of diamond spires, her dress all glitter-gleam lace and sparkles.

"I am definitely going to be a ballerina." Marian decided. The Prince was part of it. Somewhere in the world, perhaps upside-down in China and growing up like her cousin Sammy was growing up -- there was a boy who would someday marry her. Marian knew, quite definitely, her Prince was not going to be fat like cousin Sammy. Her Prince would definitely be as tall, as handsome as Daddy. She liked to imagine whirling and gliding with her Prince to the rippling music that was in her ears when she was swinging on the swings at the playground.

A few weeks before Christmas, though she realized it was childish, Marian began praying for what she wanted from Santa. She was tentative at first. "Please let me get something for Christmas." But as the time grew closer, her prayers grew longer. She began to do "Now I lay me down to sleep." Then, to that prayer she added "God Bless Mamma, Daddy, Sara our maid, my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins." After she named all her relatives, she added, "And could I have a string of pearls for Christmas. And could you consider a piano and a pair of pink satin toe shoes?

Marian wrote out a list, put it in an envelope addressed to Santa, and placed it on the table in the hall, figuring Sara, who was a good maid, would show it to Mamma, who would show it to Daddy. Probably they'd laugh, but maybe they'd open it, and maybe they'd pay attention to the items on the paper.

The next day the note that was on the table was gone. Nobody mentioned it, but that was hopeful.

A week before Christmas, Marian robbed her piggy bank. Using Mamma's nail file, she found she could scratch up into the slot and get out a few coins. In the locked bathroom, she managed to dig out two quarters, eight dimes, seventeen pennies, and three nickels.

More money came her way unexpectedly. When she helped Sara organize the kitchen drawers, there was seventy-two cents in loose change that Sara said Marian could keep. And on Sunday, when Marian got her Daddy his Times from the corner, he gave her a whole dollar bill for a tip.

The next day, at the 5 &10, Marian bought a box of assorted balls and a pack of icicle tinsel. She wanted to have her own secret celebration of Christmas, her own private shrine. She knew even a small tree was out of the question, but she priced the miniature  nativity scenes.

With $3.34 to start with, balls and tinsel using up $2.25, only $1.09 was left. It didn't take long to learn that even the least expensive "Little Town of Bethlehem" was out of the question, but on the other side of the counter there were Eiffel Towers, keys to the city, windmills, back-scratchers and rickshaws.

The rickshaw was IT. Such a tiny-teeny thing, all hand-carved wood -- wooden wheels with spokes like tooth-picks, tiny grips carved in the handles that pulled the carriage -- it even had a teeny wood-carved cushion and the smallest of small little foot-rests for the royal lady who would hire the rickshaw to take her through the busy streets of Japan and China.

The price was just 79 cents. Marian bought it. She put the remaining 30 cents back into the piggy bank when she got home.

After stringing the colored balls on red yarn, Marian hung them in her window in a graceful scallop. She draped eight tinsel icicles between each ball. On the window sill she placed her green hair ribbon and some absorbent cotton. Once the royal rickshaw was carefully placed on the ribbon, it looked like a roadway surrounded by snow drifts.

Marian presented the shrine to her parents the way the guide at the Museum had presented the Egyptian exhibit. She stood up very straight, gestured to the window sill, explaining that decorations were traditional, it was important to conform to traditions since she was going to become a non conformist when she grew up, and celebrating Christmas was a way of orientating herself to the heritage of mankind.

Daddy didn't say anything, but as he was examining the rickshaw, he smiled an extra big smile. Mamma said, "Darling, where did you get the money for all these things?"

"It's just leftover stuff from school. Some lady gave me the rickshaw. She didn't want it because it was made in Japan." Mamma was like Mary Ellen Warner. You sometimes had to invent things for Mamma. Little white lies were O.K. to tell, especially when you told them in order to be polite.

The explanation seemed to satisfy Mamma, and Daddy started talking about the boycott, the surplus inventory because of the War.

The night before before Christmas Eve, Marian looked out up at a star.

"Please, dear God, a pearl necklace, toe shoes and maybe a piano -- I would certainly appreciate that, but I'd especially appreciate it if You would show me that You are there!" She was thinking of Joan of Arc and her voices. "Even if you can't give me those things, just give me a little sign that You can hear me."

Christmas Eve, she hung up a stocking and read a poem. So it would be a ceremony, she sang "Silent Night" and "Away in the Manger," then, blew a kiss to the North, to the South, to the East and to the West. Checking the clock to be sure it was a full thirty-minutes, she thought long, hard, and prayerfully about Mamma's headaches and tiredness. Then, she did "Now I lay me down to sleep" ten times very slowly. The prayer wasn't to Santa Claus. It wasn't for pearls, toe shoes, or a piano. Marian wanted to know if there was a God and this was God's  chance to prove it.

She left the window open wide even though it was freezing cold, just in case there was a Santa spirit that might want to come in.

Christmas morning Marian sprang out of bed and rushed to the window. The stocking was empty. There was no sign, not even the tiniest indication, that God or Santa had heard her prayers or that either one of them or anything like God or Santa existed.

Her room was cold. She stayed there most of the day.

When Marian brought up the subject at dinner, Daddy explained: "Praying is something that people invented because it gives them comfort. Don't count on praying, dear. You have to do things yourself. What you pray for, you do not necessarily get!"

Marian nodded. The philosophy was very clear.

A week later, when Marian came home from school, Mamma was gone. Sara said, "Your mother is in the hospital."

Marian felt as if she were going down the swooping curve on the Coney Island roller coaster and had left her stomach behind at the top of the hill. She wondered if what had happened had anything to do with being an agnostic, disobeying her Daddy's rules and praying to God and Santa.

Marian put the green ribbon in the wastebasket, and flushed the cotton down the toilet. Then, she broke the Christmas tree balls one by one and put the pieces in the kitchen trash can. She handed the royal rickshaw to Sara the maid.

Sara said, "Maybe you should keep it, and give it to your baby brother. He's coming home with your Mamma day after tomorrow."

"OH!" Marian said.

She retrieved the green ribbon and put the ribbon and the royal rickshaw on a high shelf, so she could use them next Christmas, and teach her new brother about God and Santa watching over you whether you liked it or not.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


John reads the opening chapter of Emily Frankel's novel, which bluntly, realistically tells the story of a fat lady jeopardizing her life by excessive dieting.

Click, get a free copy--CIRCLE OF IVY" (it's free till Dec 18th)

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Hey, almost nobody is buying my e-books -- my six novels are just sitting on



Gee, the titles are good, book-covers are good!! The plots -- gee -- they're very good stories. My writing has been praised by critics ... Lotta friends on Facebook and Twitter read my blog ; they say they like my ideas, my humor, my honesty. Why aren't they buying a book?

The $2.99 price is too high?

I dug up facts hoping to comfort myself. According to Pew Research: One out of 10 American adults, 72 percent of adults, read some kind of book last year. That's a steep decline from 1978, when 92 percent of Americans made that same claim. But when e-books exploded into popularity -- driven by the launch of the Kindle in 2007, the Nook in 2009 -- books sales jumped from $61.3 million to $1.54 billion, and  e-books accounted for an increasingly large share of the total trade revenue. Pew and Gallup say the revenue from e-books has been "flattening" -- end of last year e-books totaled $1.37 billion and accounted for not quite 20 percent of total revenue.

Numbers dumberate me! LOUDLY I'm moaning -- I am, I am -- I don't write novels to study percentages, market shares, I don't really care about money.

Okay, audiobooks are getting popular. Researchers said they accounted for the strongest portion of adult book sales in  2015, bringing in $205.6 million, a 38.9 percent increase from 2014. My husband, John Cullum, who has a voice that thousands of fans love, wants to record my books.

Hey ho, haha -- I haven't been able to sell my e-books! Even with Cullum's name, the same thing will happen with audiobooks. Gee -- if I could just get my books in a store window, I'd post this sign.

Hey, here's a video that a critic who wrote a book published. It sums up my moan perfectly.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Yep, a 3D Printer can build a Printed House in 45 days, or 24 hours.

Here's tech talk about this 3D Printed House in China, and its thick, strong walls that can withstand a major earthquake.

In the next video, you can see more details, and watch a 3D Printer layering on cement like it's decorating a birthday cake. I'm not sure what the boss-owner of this 3D Printing Company is talking about with excited gestures, but he's obviously proud that 10 houses were built in 24 hours.

It's amazing -- the 3D Printer, amazingly economically, can create different style houses, and the basic cost for any of these houses is about $4800.  
A Double House

A Sun Room.
Golly, maybe 3D Printers will help solve the problems of the world's expanding population, and homelessness. My husband and I could even build a house in the courtyard behind our home -- maybe a tiny house like Texan Alex Le Roux built -- an 8 x 5 x 7 foot structure. We could paint its 7 x 4 square-foot interior bright pink and orange!

I'm already wondering whom I could contact about local 3D Printers, builders, permits -- an extra space would be wowy wonderful!!! I could have it ... well, probably not for Xmas, but maybe for New Year's. 

Hey, it's the wishing time of year. What about a castle?

There's a guy in Minnesota who built himself a castle in his backyard. I must say it would be lovely to have an Andrey Rodenko castle on our premises -- bet I'd write lovelier, better blogs.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


IS fitness tracking helpful?

Sure! Having a tracker helps, like wearing a nice outfit helps, and taking a quick look at the tracker is a way of encouraging yourself to keep going. The most expensive one is $849; a more typical, less expensive tracker will help too. ($29.00 to $89.99).

Even so, the manufacturers of FixBit, (one of the most popular trackers), says that only 10% of the purchasers wear it for a year.

The fact is, the tracker just helps you stick to your exercise routine. No matter what you do to keep in shape, the repeated routines get boring. Based on my background as an ex-dancer who stays in shape, I think you need to find a way to make each exercise session special.

My husband, John Cullum, hates exercise. He vocalizes, when he's getting ready to perform as a singer; he rehearses the lines for a play and exercises that part of his brain, but physical exercise -- abs, stretches, jogging, biking, weight-lifting -- none of that stuff is for him.

Sometimes he shops for groceries. We live on the 4th floor. There's no elevator; the stairs tire him. Maybe he'd be less tired if he exercised his stair-climbing muscles. He could do the stairs while holding in his abs; or climb the stairs with his shoulders arched back. He might try standing extra tall, or raising each knee as high as possible as he climbs; he could try holding the banister for one step, and not holding for the next step. Any of these simple physical things might make stair-climbing easier, and become a way of exercising that's not boring.

With or without a fitness tracker, I'm suggesting that you review what you do every day that you can possibly transform into a more challenging use of your body.   

Could you transform making a phone call into an exercise, and stand or sit tall, stretch, or suck in your abs before you input the number? If you're in a hurry, you'll probably think to hell with this routine. But you could certainly transform bed-making, dishes, sweeping, laundry -- any tidying routine could become an exercise as well.  

Almost every day (for more than ten years), I exercise -- I do a dance ritual, using a recording that I fell in love with many years ago. Before turning on the sound system, I warm up with stretches, standing tall, and sucking in my abs -- the warmup isn't fun, but it enables me to move confidently, full out. Playing the music, I perform choreography which I've had to simplify somewhat over the years, but the movement fits the rhythms and crescendos of this music perfectly. 

This painting expresses how I feel when I'm dancing.

Charles Darwin once remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” Albert Einstein declared, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.” Jimi Hendrix called music his “religion.”

Fellow exercisers, find some music -- rap, classic, rock and roll, a song, or sounds you love -- and play it. Exercise becomes dancing.

You dance -- yes -- dance -- to wonderful music.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


John Cullum is, in fact, already working with a team--a writer, arranger, and director--on a one man show.
Will it happen? There's no biz like show biz--plans, dreams commitments change with the wind and weather.

Will the wind blow him into the theater --THE JOHN CULLUM THEATER, on 54th street? 

Friday, November 25, 2016


When I put on my sneakers, yank the laces and tug extra hard on them -- I think of Joe Busby. My latest new pair of sneakers arrived with  laces that were too long.

Visit what I found on the Internet.

I bought two pairs of strong, correct length laces for $1.26 + $3.00 for shipping. I emailed my thanks to the company, asking, "Who's the owner? How do you guys break even?"

Somebody replied immediately in an email, and said:
      "Joe Busby was a manager for Honeywell. for ten years in Dayton and moved to Cincinnati. He started the shoe lace business for various reasons -- two reasons being he wanted to be able to raise a family and work at the same time and also his wife had a full time job and was traveling a lot as well.  (Honeywell International Inc. headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, produces commercial and consumer products, including home thermostats, electronic security systems, and turbo-chargers for vehicles.)
      "He selected shoe laces because it allowed him to buy and sell. Thus, when he quit his corporate job he switched from buying and selling to making and selling at the same time and created a niche market for himself."

Hey, Joe Busby -- I am a blogger, writing short essays -- creating them and promoting them on Twitter and Facebook so that they'll be read. Having written six novels that are selling, (not very well) on Amazon, observing that people are reading less and "blogging" with their photos, expressing their ideas with  "likes" -- I feel it doesn't make sense to devote myself to writing a new novel.  (It takes a year or so, to write a novel -- you can create a post for a blog in five to eight hours.)

So I strain my brain every day, figuring out what to blog about. I wonder if Joe Busby felt what I feel -- sort of frustrated, purposeless -- when he was working at Honeywell?

Oh boy, I could write a book about all the things nobody told me about growing older -- like white socks. Years ago, I laughed because my mother, even in the summer wore white socks when she retired for the night. Mom didn't tell me, nobody ever mentioned the leg cramps that we get (my husband gets them too) if we don't wear socks.

Hey -- right now -- wow now -- today, I could start a non-fiction seventh book -- a big-fat-ever-expanding narration about stuff  that nobody warned me about. What fun to research it -- get folks to share what's bugging them, and sell it -- like Busby --  2 cents, + postage. Hey-yay yay -- that oughta keep me creatively percolating, for a year or two or ten.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Time Magazine devoted it's July 4th issue to listing the 240 favorite things that Americans love about our country.
Well-known Americans -- movie stars, TV stars, editors -- shared their favorite things and the "coolest" places to visit - -- the food, the sights, the fun parks and festivals.

Golly, I remember touring as a dancer  -- traveling and performing in more than 1000 American towns, staying in hotels, motels, tourist homes, guest bedrooms -- dining in lunch-counters, snack bars, eateries, restaurants -- moseying down thousands of main streets. Everyday we were on a different road moving toward a different horizon.

ME., TEX., UT., N.MEX.

CA., NEV., WA., MO.

... trees, wheat, or corn, or emptiness ...  every day a different sky hovering over people, cows, communities, fences, bridges, birds flying hither and yon as we headed ahead on a road that was going somewhere ...
GA.,NEB., COLO., Ill., ORE.

Time Magazine's 240 Reasons to Celebrate Our Country" reminds me -- how I loved heading down Pacific Coast Highway to the Cheesecake Factory,  favorite restaurant where we met with our son  every weekend for a sumptuous dinner -- loved our log cabin at the top of Las Flores Canyon Road in Malibu -- Las Fores -- wow, what a spectacular winding road, so many, many wonderful roads.


There are approximately 4,071,000 miles of roads in the United States, 2,678,000 miles paved and 1,394,000 miles unpaved ... golly, I have visions in my mind of more than 240 favorite roads ...

Yes, it's time for Thanksgiving, giving thanks for what I know, and feel, and have in my mind and heart.

Golly, America The Beautiful is beautiful.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Like most couples who share a bed, as the seasons change, AIR and the COVERLET become major issues.

 John Cullum and wife, Emily Frankel, joke about their tussles in the bedroom over window open or closed, about more or less blanket.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


On Twitter, Martha Stewart says about herself, "Curious, inquisitive, experimental entrepreneur who cares about the world we live in."
Back in our "Shenandoah" days when my husband, John Cullum, and I began to have money for renovations, I started decorating our home. I was very aware of Martha Stewart's thoughtful, practical, always neat, gracious taste.

Nevertheless, I went with what appealed to me, and ignored the Martha Stewart recommendations for furniture, floor coverings, curtains, silverware, dinnerware, as well as glasses, wine goblets. The ultra fancy stuff that lyricist Alan Lerner bestowed upon us (8 huge, Baccarat crystal beer mugs), and other expensive treasures from other famous pals, sit on the high shelves above our uniquely orange and black kitchen. (Not colors that M.S recommends.)

No doubt about it, Martha Stewart is a towering authority, a living encyclopedia on ways to handle one's life style. Before writing this, I browsed Wikipedia. Under "career" you'll see her domain -- Living Omnimedia Inc. You name it, and she is planning to do it, or has already done it, and written a book about it. She's 74. She started writing at age 41 in 1982. She has published 141 books.
Okay, I am not a fan. I have never bought a Martha Stewart book, though I admire her queenly, confident, courageous dealing with the good and bad things that came her way, especially the way she handled being in jail, back in 2004 and 2005. For lying to federal investigators about a stock sale that the IRS deemed, "inside information," Stewart received the minimum sentence: 5 months in prison, 5 months of home confinement, 19 months probation,  a $30,000 fine and all court fees.

Since then, aided by guesting on television shows, and the press coverage of her many, many appearances at openings, celebrity gatherings, and award ceremonies, Stewart's been expanding her name and her domain.

Her latest venture is Martha and Marley Spoon. She is now offering and promoting what quite a few companies have been offering since 2014 -- meals in a box. Dinner arrives in a box filled with all the raw material (ingredients and seasoning), and a beautifully printed, easy-to-follow routine. Follow it and in about a half hour you can be a gourmet cook.

My opinion: Meals in a box is not what the younger generation -- generation that's younger than Martha, or younger than me (whatever age you think I am) -- wants or needs. I think that youngers want to be IN with other people -- they want to go out, be out, do things their own way, try different things, even exhaust themselves doing whatever they feel like doing.

Hey, I bow respectfully to Martha Stewart, but now seems to be a time for fun -- pleasuring, amusing oneself, and being bravely outrageous.

How do I know?

I see it, feel it, sense it, have been  studying, researching, talk-writing about it, while functioning creatively in the real world. I am in the real, real world, much more than Martha Stewart. 

The look of Martha in this photo could be her reply.


This is me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


 Can you increase your IQ?  Yes!

Back in 2012, a nine page Newsweek cover story confirmed this, and gave us information on the research that proves that you can.

Recovering from more than a year of politics, today is good day to Bigify Yourself.

Remember when everyone was taking Ginko Bilova, and Ginseng?  I tried it, but didn't  feel any different. So of course, I read every word on the nine pages and learned about exercises for the brain,  and "tricks" that help you learn faster.

I got information on neurobiology, plasticity, cognitive science, and the proof -- details on studies and tests that showed how "gray matter"(neurons) increase with use, and decrease when they're not used. I learned about stimulants, pills, and "aerobic" exercise for the brain that will improve your short term and long term memory, enhance your ability to retain information, and increase your attention span.

The piece de resistance of the article was  31 WAYS TO GET SMARTER IN 2012 -- an illustrated list with comments, oddly facetious  comments. I Googled, and found an explosion of Websites, bloggers, and radio stations, who were sharing the Newsweek article with their readers. Clicking next, and next until my thumb got tired, I saw 89 versions of the 31 WAYS, that added their own sort of ha-ha (not funny) comments.

Anyhow, 31 ways to better your brain became a hot topic. After I re-read the nine pages, I boiled it down to the 14 things that sort of made sense to me:

 (1) Play Word Games with Friends; (2) Eat Turmeric [Indian spice that can reduce dementia]; (3) Taekwondo [Martial arts]; (4) Toss Your Smartphone; (5) Get a lot of Sleep [Harvard researchers proved it helps]; Build A ‘Memory Palace [associate things with vivid images]; (7) Learn A Language; (8) Eat Dark Chocolate; (9) Play Violent Video Games [it quicken reactions]; (10) Eat Yogurt; (11) See A Shakespeare Play; (12) Play A Musical Instrument; (13) Write By Hand; (14) Drink Coffee. (You can read about the 17 other things at the end of this blog.)   

In my opinion, Newsweek was saying  if you want to be smarter and there's something, anything that you like to do, love to do, and aren't doing -- DO IT.

In the meantime, I say EAT BLUEBERRIES -- they stimulate brain activity, according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati. (They are especially tasty when you eat them with cottage cheese and a small sprinkle of Sweet'N Lo to add sweetness.)

It's even smarter to eat pomegranates. Aside from their sweet and tart taste, their juice contains Punicalagins -- they do more for you than red wine, grape juice, cranberry juice, green tea or Acai juice. As a super-antioxidant, they provide protection against heart disease, cancer and cognitive impairment. Tests show individuals drinking pomegranate juice daily performed better on a memory task than non drinkers.

Guys, you can get Pomegranates from October through February, and you can always get some frozen blueberries -- be smart, not dumb, and yum your way back from our exhausting election into a deliciously bigified brain.

If you're brave with plenty of time on your hands, here's the link to my blog in 2012 that lists and briefly explains the 31 ways.