Thursday, April 27, 2017

(VIDEO) CULLUM'S GIFTS FOR HIS WIFE

If his wife, Emily Frankel, says, "I think I need a...."


Whatever she mentions, John Cullum is off -- buying it, making it, or scrounging around to find where and how he can get whatever Emily needs.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

THE PILLOW GUY

This is Mike Lindell, the guy who invented MY PILLOW.

Using every aspect of himself, including his love life, family, and his on and off addiction to cocaine, alcohol, and crack, 47 year-old Mike is selling MY PILLOW in commercials -- lots of commercials, that are making him lots of money, making him into a kind of folk hero who's proving that the key to success is "name" fame. 

With every commercial, we hear more of his private-personal story, with details emphasizing that he's exceptionally truthful, honest, and trustworthy, that he's working night and day to help people who don't sleep well, to sleep wonderfully well with MY PILLOW.

A story that's often told by Mike is how the MY PILLOW idea came to him, back in 2003 -- how he and his brother worked night and day for months, cutting up pillows into little, big, tiny, and huge pieces, arranging and re-arranging thousands of pieces till -- "miraculously" he says -- one day the pillow magically retained its shape.

He mentions proudly, actually brags about how much time he's bought on all networks -- on hit  shows, news and political shows -- meeting face-to-face with celebrities, anchormen, and big-name CEO's, as well as customers who are responding to his assertions. In commercials, interviews and mailings, he states that MY PILLOW can help you if you've got fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, cerebral palsy, acid reflux, and other similar conditions.

Here's one of his 32-second videos.


Right now, busier than ever, Mike proudly announces that there are 18 stores in various states, and a new, 100,000 square-foot factory that opened in May in Minnesota, where workers are working 24/7 -- two lines of workers making pillows at a rate of 12 per minute -- producing more than 85,000 pillows a day. That's why he's buying more media for what he calls the MY PILLOW “tsunami” -- the next boom in sales, that will lead to My PILLOW becoming a billion dollar company.

Of course, a book about Mike Lindell is on the verge of being published; a film is being made about his life. In an interview, tears in his eyes, he explained that he's working on other products that can make life  perfect like MY PILLOW does. He mentioned a dog bed and a mattress top, telling us, "Pay attention to your dreams -- you too can maybe become a billionaire."

Guys, peeking at the Wikipedia, the Minnesota factory is listed as 70,000 square feet, producing 25,000 a day; the pillow is not magical -- it's a patented mix of different-sized pieces of open-cell poly-foam pieces that are chopped to specification by a machine -- the mix contains a resin that enables the foam to retain much of its shape when molded to the user's preference.

Wikpedia also detailed MY PILLOW lawsuit troubles: Lindell's paying a million in civil penalties to settle a false advertising lawsuit because MY PILLOW claims to help fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, cerebral palsy, and acid reflux. The Better Business Bureau, having received a maximum number of complaints, has revoked its accreditation, and has given MY PILLOW and "F."

By the way, if you buy a pillow from MY PILLOW, it will cost you $79.98, plus shipping, free shipping if you buy two. There are quite a few other vendors that sell it for around $50, one that offers if for $19.99, plus shipping.

I am writing this blog because MY PILLOW wonderfully, perfectly represents what bugs me, what I hate and fear about advertising in today's media.  MY PILLOW isn't miraculous, marvelous, or a solution to sleeping better. Most of what is said about MY PILLOW is (my opinion) PREPOSTEROUS, phony baloney exaggeration, and lies -- lies created by the creator and people he's hired to help him spend enough money on selling this product, until you and I and millions, probably billions of others will want MY PILLOW.

My husband John and I have a big thing about MY PILLOW ads. When we're watching TV, and  Mike's face, or the MY PILLOW commercial appears, we cry out OH NO!!!

We quickly grab the remote and CHANGE THE CHANNEL.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

BIKING DAYS

Back in the days when John Cullum, my husband, was job hunting and I was taking over as artistic director of my dance company, John and I biked everywhere. Quite often on weekends, we went on excursions to areas of New York City that we'd never visited before.
It was an autumn thing to do. I loved the wind in my hair, and the exercise -- using my legs, my straight-backed posture -- tut-tut observing John, who rides his bike hunched over. I wanted my ex-tennis-champ husband to have a dancer’s posture -- he wanted me to bike like a biker, and stop worrying about how I looked.

Golly, I still remember when I was a little girl, what a big deal it was to learn how to ride a bike. Harder, even more important than learning to tie the laces on my shoes, riding a bike was a way of becoming a grownup who could head for the park where grownup, bigger kids were jumping rope and playing baseball.

Well, I did it -- learned, and it grew me up, like learning to drive a car did, when I was older. I had to learn to drive in order to be able to tour and earn a living from performing on college campuses.

After John landed a role in Shakespeare in the Park, on our bikes, we visited all sorts of wonderful Central Park nooks and crannies. When John, who was understudying two leading roles in “Henry V" went on for the Chorus, and did the famous “Oh for a muse of fire” speech, he was discovered by Alan Lerner’s assistant.
While John was playing Sir Dinadan in Lerner and Lowe's “Camelot," on his day off we rode our bikes up and down all the streets -- 41st to 50th street, stopping and studying the exteriors and backstage entrances of famous theaters, not realizing that John would be working on the stage in most of them someday.

Sometime around then, my second-hand pink bike (I’d painted it) was stolen. We’d been parking our bikes in the hallway of our building, where the main entrance door wasn't locked. We'd rented and transformed the 4th floor loft into a spacious home and dance studio, but back then, we didn't have a buzzer that allowed us to unlock it for mail and package deliveries.

John’s blue bike (I’d painted it) was stolen when he was standing-by for Richard Burton in "Camelot," when Richard was off to Rome to co-star with Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” -- big event that changed their lives, as well as ours.

John’s rising income enabled us to install a buzzer system and buy a smallish Honda motorcycle from an actor pal, who was in “1776," when John was singing “Molasses to Rum.”

Though traffic and potholes scared me, while John auditioned for Lerner, over and over for a new show, working on the Viennese accent Lerner wanted the leading man to have, I started learning to ride “Harry” the Honda.  (That's what I called the Honda.)

Nevertheless, I usually sat behind John on Harry, clutching him as we explored NYC's downtown Jewish shopping district (open on Sundays) where I was shopping for fabric for 16 costumes for my performances at Lincoln Center.  Suddenly, “helmets” had to be worn. Golly, I hated the way my head sweated, when I wore a hard hat. John said, "stop worrying -- you look fine," but my hair looked lousy for hours, after a trip on Harry.

Also, Harry stalled sometimes, and there were skids -- a nasty skid hurt my collarbone, so Harry temporarily lived in the hallway. With John’s “On a Clear Day” earnings, we bought our building, also new bicycles, and baby furniture --  parenting was part of our growing up -- our little one, John David Cullum, was arriving.

As JD grew, we employed housekeeper-baby-sitters, and there were more jobs on Broadway for Dad, more prestigious bookings for Mom. We ventured out as a trio on Harry but it was nerve-racking, not safe -- city streets were getting to be very crowded. We gave Harry to John's understudy. JC, while playing Laertes in Burton’s “Hamlet,” bought a tricycle for JD.

On Sundays, the three of us biked around a nearby huge empty parking lot -- us on two new bikes, JD on his first two wheeler, then, a full-size bike -- wow, he was growing up fast.

When JC starred in “Deathtrap,” like rich folks, we commuted to a rented summer home in the Hamptons, exploring, on rented bikes, possible fabulous homes to buy. It was a fun game -- we weren’t rich, but a lot of things were in the offing -- meetings with Hal Prince about “On the 20th Century,” talk about John starring in a TV show, a tour for my adaptation of “Cyrano,” with John playing the part. All that, while I was on my way to London for a British Arts Council tour and JC was starring in “Shenandoah,” with JD playing a small role. No doubt about it -- the Cullums were in the busiest time, the prime of life. John bought a scooter but his producers objected, so he and JD traveled to the theater in the limo they provided.

Today, in NYC, there are bike paths everywhere, 290 miles of them appeared under Mayor Bloomberg’s jurisdiction, and Citi Bikes. As of May 2016, there are approximately 8,000 bikes and 500 stations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. Check out the station map to see the full Citi Bike coverage.

Cost: Single Ride: $4 -- 1 ride up to 30 minutes.
$12: -- unlimited 30-minute rides in a 24-hour period.
$163: Annual Membership: unlimited 45-minute rides, or $14.95/mo.

I read recently that around 600,000 cars crawl into lower Manhattan each weekday; that 19,000 New Yorkers commute to work by bike. T'aint a friendly city these days -- car-guys hate bikers, bikers hate car-guys, pedestrians hate the cyclists whizzing the wrong way on one-way streets -- last year about  500 people were injured by bikes, but Citi Bikes say fewer are being injured nowadays.

Anyway, JD’s a working actor in LA now, driving a fancy sports car, and our dusty new (old) bikes belong to a neighbor who has two rambunctious kids. Hey, if you want to ascend to a ripe and active old age, you live less dangerously. On weekends, if we’re not busy puttering and fixing worn-out things, JC’s on our treadmill in our studio, and I, being concerned with staying in shape, do my barre every day in my studio and practice standing tall.

Yes, now is a great time for biking -- yes, our biking days are over -- but I stand very tall, and so does John Cullum, when we go on one of our long, long, lovely long walks.

Friday, April 14, 2017

CULLUM READS "THREE MILES EAST OF ROSE"

John Cullum reads chapter one of Emily Frankel's "Three Miles East of Rose." A man and woman (mid 40's), widowers, fall madly in love, but family obligations, careers, inhibitions -- fears that come with living in the nineties and being no longer young and beautiful -- keep them apart.

Click title: Three Miles East of Rose

 reduced price:  99 cents
(till April 21)

CULLUM ON EMILY FRANKEL'S NOVEL "THREE MILES EAST OF ROSE"

Monday, April 10, 2017

(VIDEO) JOHN CULLUM'S NEW DANCE

Bragging about his talents, Emily Frankel wants people to see how John Cullum can enact any subject, whatever subject she mentions.

 
Even though he's reluctant, Emily begs him, charms him, and gets him to stand up. It's a messy moment in the video but fun. You'll see a bit of the little dance she (quite often) manages to get him to do as he crosses into their bedroom.





Thursday, April 6, 2017

BEWARE-IFICATIONS

I keep track of alerts, snippets of info, warnings...as well as facts.


BEWARE-ifications get filed into my pile of worry news that get me googling around to see if others are worried. Recently Time Magazine posted -- "Very hot drinks are a probable cancer trigger."

Wowie-eek, rang in my mind as I read, reread, checked it out, and read again.

World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) -- 23 scientists from 10 countries, reviewed 1,000 studies investigating the connection between high temperature beverages and their potential link to cancer. Based on the available evidence, they concluded that drinking very hot beverages (defined as anything above 149F), linked to a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus. Hot Drinks is now on the list of 116 probable cancer-causing agents in people, along with red meat, fried food, and DDT.
 
Mid-seventies they told us saccharin killed lab rats. Hey, we are glad to know from IARC that smoking kills you, that coffee, coca cola, and contraceptives (Huh?) can give you cancer. We have been warned to keep away from diet pills, sleeping pills, tanning salons, but gee... never heard about contraceptives...


In the Time Magazine article a top researcher explained that a new study shows that people who drank coffee had less inflammatory ailments than people who don't drink coffee.  

"Inflammatory" means ... hot?  Painfully hot?

Do drink it? Don't drink it?

Here's what I gathered from Wikipedia. Most cancers are related to environmental, (everything outside the body), or lifestyle, or behavioral exposures from tobacco, diet and obesity, infections, radiation, stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants. Age is a factor, as is what you inherit genetically. Where you live is also a factor ... lotsa factors....  

Okay, I always use saccharin, but I don't smoke, and I stay out of the sun, eat very little red meat, and I exercise. I bet there will be more research -- this study will give birth to more studies that will explode into those nice little headlines that get you worrying about various this's and that's.

Hey, wouldn't it be interesting if the study of inflammatory ailments said exercise less or proved that you do better if you're 10-to-20 pounds overweight...

Yiii, I'm getting a headache. IARC reports on factual real news. We're living in a time when we've got to question everything, figure out what's real, what's fake -- what do you do?

You head for the clouds

I looked at this film about your morning wake-up cup of something.

I know what I'm going to do.

It's going to be piping hot.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

HOW IS HILLARY DOING?

How often have you wondered how Hillary is doing? It's a daily thing for me -- every time I hear the latest news about President Donald Trump -- what he's dealing with, not dealing with -- I wonder about her.

She has made a few appearances since the election. She's given a few speeches, but how is she really? This photo of the Clintons at Trump's inauguration speaks volumes.


I read that she doesn't watch the news, and that after the election she went for long walks near her home in Chappaqua. Did she, does she discuss things -- what happened, why, what's next for her -- with Chelsea? With Bill? He looks older, much older, and quite gaunt.


Anyhow, Hillary cut her hair. (It's what a woman does that says I'm different now.) I like the way it looks. I like what she said in the speech she made on St. Patrick's Day in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Hillary told the Society of Irish Women, "I'm like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news," and mentioned how, as first lady, she met with female leaders who want to bring peace to Northern Ireland. Clinton said, "What we can do now is bring people together and find common ground, so that we listen to each other again and try to make a difference. I'm not sure what will come out of Washington, but it can come out of Scranton. Let's find ways to do that. I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going."

Hurray for you  Hillary. It sounds as if you are rejoining the world. This speech is one of several Clinton is scheduled to deliver in the coming months -- including a May 26th commencement address at her alma-mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She is also working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her loss to Donald Trump.

I wish I could phone her. I'd say, "Your loss of the presidency is our loss too. For many of us it's still a nightmare, we're still having difficulty adjusting to what's happening to things we need, we believe in, we counted on. If you could just shine a light on what you think, what you feel about what happened, it would help. We need closure, Hillary. We have to put away what happened, and refind energy, passion, and strong positive things to say and do for ourselves, our neighbors, and our country. Shine that light and talk to us Hillary!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

(VIDEO) EVER TELL A BIG FAT FIB?

Wife Emily Frankel asks her husband, John Cullum, if he ever told a whopper.


John bends over backward to be honest and answer truthfully, but it gets very awkward. As the subject gets into "girlfriends," what Emily says and does will surprise you.



Saturday, March 25, 2017

THE NEXT WOMAN PRESIDENT...?

The Week Magazine quoted a Boston Herald reporter who said, "Why not  Oprah for President?" The Chicago Times thought it was joke, saying that Trump's first weeks remind us that a president with no experience is like choosing a surgeon who has scant medical knowledge.
Oprah said, "Oh gee, I don't have the experience." Same day on a talk show she  said "Oh?"  and indicated with another softer, smiling "Oh..." that she was thinking about it.

I've thought about it. The heroine of my novel, Somebody, Woman of the Century -- Cordelia -- was born day one of 1900, the events in her life coinciding with life-changing events, inventions, wars, and trivia -- movies, music in the air -- everything from bustles to bikinis -- all the things that affected a woman's sense of herself, as women back then, were trying to achieve status with men.

On her 98th birthday, as the last of the party guests were leaving, Cordelia settled herself on the couch next to her granddaughter.
     As the elevator closed, someone called, "Put it on your schedule,  Cordy -- see you at our 'Keep the Environment Green' meeting Friday!"
     Miranda murmured, "What a laugh, you retiring from congress two years  ago, because you were too busy. You've got how many projects now, on  the front burner?"
     "Six. On a four-burner  stove." Like a teletype, Cordelia's mind ticked away on her last year  in congress. "I'm still still doing a jig over the Social Security legislation we rammed through in '96 so that old folks could earn a little extra money -- thanks goodness there are jobs for them."
     "Scary jobs -- they cloned that sheep 'Dolly.' It's scary, Cordy, and I don't like the idea of interfering with Mother Nature's  domain!" 
     Cordelia nodded, thinking of the three men she loved. "Richard would have agreed with you. Jackson wouldn't. Ray would have reacted the same way as Richard." ...was it two years ago that he left the world... memories of one man blending,became memories of the other.... "He'd have worried about terrorism, blamed it on our foreign policy, and chuckled over the fuss, hated the hullabaloo over Clinton's love life. Wouldn't be thrilled about more lady commanders, the military announcing more lady bosses by two thousand and ten." Still musing out loud to herself, Cordelia  hummed a few names. "Oprah, Hillary, Madeline Albright? Who'll be the  queen pin, king pin, the president in two thousand and ten? Some new  person we never heard of?

When I finished that novel in the mid-nineties, woman president made a great deal of sense. Today, it makes more sense than ever.   

It could be Elizabeth  Warren, Kamala Harris, the Attorney  General and Senator-elect from California, or Illinois' Tammy Duckworth, combat veteran who lost both her legs. Or ...what about...

...Michele...?

In a sit down discussion with Oprah, Michelle made it clear she will not be running for office -- she said she would not put her family through more time in the spotlight. "I don't make stuff up, I'm not coy. I'm pretty direct. If I was interested in it, I would say." Ms Obama said again, that eight years in the White House had been long enough and she did not want to force her children to be faced with more sacrifices.

But a year from now... Wouldn't it be something if Michele Obama would consider it?

She's  a name -- a gleaming gold name, a powerful vision -- a queen-pin-king-pin to hold in mind as we start talking now, not next year, talking now -- talking, talking and planning now, for the next election.

Yes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SAY "Hi" TO YOUR PET FISH

I read that fish can recognize faces.
Bubble bubble, toil and trouble thinks motherly Em, recalling many mornings when I fed the fish in our fish tank -- yes indeed -- the fish gathered at the top and seemed to be waiting for me. Did they recognize me or were they just very hungry?

Well, researchers say they recognized me. Nature Magazine, CNN, The Washington PostNational Geographic, and Scientific Reports say YES, based on the study that was done by scientists at University of Oxford in the U.K. and the University of Queensland in Australia.

Furthermore, these experts say that Archerfish can be trained to pick people out of a  lineup. They can differentiate  between one human and another.

Various articles explained: "Though Archerfish lack a 'neocortex,'  or any other brain structure involved in visual processing, they are not like dogs or horses, not domesticated, and haven't faced evolutionary pressure to recognize people. Even  so, Archerfish have keen vision and a unique capacity to spit powerfully jets of water that can shoot down prey, such as flying insects or small lizards perched on foliage. They can do this with pinpoint precision."

That ability is how the researchers trained archerfish. They used food rewards to get them to direct their fire at images of specific people on a computer screen -- did it over and over again so that finally, when a familiar face was placed among 44 strangers, the fish spat at the face they knew with 81 percent accuracy.  (You can check this out on Vice.com.)

 

Author of the study, Cait Newport, said: "I think it's really fascinating that they have these supposedly simple brains, but they are still able to use them for really complicated tasks, and we probably just don't give them enough credit."



Wow! What a Queen, Mother Nature is -- more than a queen, a genius, a magical evolutionary evolver Mother Nature is ... 


In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”  Aristotle



Gee, I'm glad I talked to my pet fish, the way I talk to my plants. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

(VIDEO) CULLUMS RE-VISIT A FAVORITE FILM

There was nothing interesting to watch on TV, so somewhat lackadaisically we revisited a famous, favorite film.
 Wow!  We were surprised, found ourselves seeing beautiful elements in the film -- brilliant things we'd never noticed before. Was it our mood? Or it because nowadays we actually see, feel, and understand a lot of things more realistically?


Monday, March 13, 2017

NEW WORDS

A FEW words, maybe for you,

Are definitely NEW.






 Mmm.

ONE new word might be fun.






If you wanna have two...
well...
This word might do.
well...
It depends on who are your friends.



Hey, if you often "cosplay" ...

mmm

It does confuse,
But amuse your pals,
(those boys and gals),
Who choose not to divulge
The pleasures in which they indulge.



(Do you strike a match,
and join them?
Say ahem lightly, politely?
Natch!)


But new words like birds fly by...

So,
With a realistic sigh,
Just try
To make sense
In one dense sentence...







Make it your intention to mention
            To pronounce --    
            To announce --
Say loudly some time today:

"GUYS, 
YOU ARE ON
FLEEK!"


"YOU ARE FAMO!"
 
For quite awhile, your SEN PAL, BAELESS PAL,
Your toking smoking TOOKAH pals will smile!
And in the end, comprehend,
Seek to be fleek,
And like Santa's elves,
Use the new words themselves.


Here are other new words added by Merriam Websters this year:

And these:
LOLcat: In case you hadn't heard, it refers to pictures of cats you find all over the Internet accompanied with funny captions, typically with misspellings and incorrect grammar.
Five-second rule: It  makes people feel better for eating food that's fallen on the floor. This rule says it will still be uncontaminated if it's only been five  seconds.
Mahoosive: Exceptionally big.
Keyboard warrior: Someone who aggressively posts on Facebook or other social media sites.
Digital footprint: The information about you that can be found online.
Duck face: An exaggerated pouting expression, often made for a selfie.
Man crush: The non-sexual admiration one man has for another.
Some abbreviations also: Jel, for jealous; xlnt, because excellent is way too long; and IDC, meaning I don't care.

Hey,  IDDC -- I definitely do care!  Do you?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

SUNSHINE IN KENYA

Wow -- in rural Kenya, South Africa, solar panels are replacing kerosene generators and providing cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy.

I saw this photo in Newsweek Magazine -- Erasmus Wambus enjoying the solar powered light in his home in Kenya.
According to Newsweek, two-thirds of South Africa's population has no electricity. Many have always used Kerosene generators that are unhealthy and environmentally destructive. Solar costs less than Kerosene.

We own the small building in this photo. Our personal electrical bills -- for each of our two floors, are about $130 a month; also we pay the electricity bills for the building's hall ways, and exterior -- another $175.

The article described a woman entering her mud-walled house -- kicking off her sandals, switching on a light and a turning on small TV -- "a little miracle," she said. "My children can now study well,  complete their assignments. Last term they performed excellently in their exams."

Everyday the woman has to line up the solar panel outside her home. Solar is paid for by her "lease-to-own" agreement with M-Kopa Solar, a Canadian company that delivers electricity to more than 100,000 homes in South and East Africa. Customers make a small down payment and then make daily payments of pennies a day.

Spur of the moment, I phoned a Solar Panel place and got in over my head. There were pop-up requests for my name, phone, profile, income -- the sort of questions you do not want to answer online -- plus technical questions about our building.  

I talked to my husband. The co-owner of our building, actor singer John Cullum LOVES the idea.  He thinks what they're doing in Kenya could done by us -- it might inspire our neighbors, the guys who own the big buildings that surround ours, and maybe their neighbors too.

So we're googling around, reading about funding, bank loans, tax credits, checking out solar energy websites, learning what we can. It might be, it could be our summer project!!!!!

Can you hear us, we singing "You are my sunshine..." 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

(VIDEO) CULLUM & EM CHAT ABOUT "NOTHING."

Out of the blue, Emily says, "There's no subject today."


Spur of the moment, the Cullums have fun discussing "nothing," -- trivial things (ala Jerry Seinfeld), about which they're not very concerned.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"MOM" LOVE

Everyday I write-talk with my son. I e-mail him. He e-mails me.

He was a strong little one. He spoke his first word at six months -- not "Mama" or "Dada." As I pulled the cord on a fixture he said "light."

I like that.

He had a wry sense of humor. At age two, recovering from tonsil surgery, he said "Am I going to have to eat jello for the rest of my life?"
His tone is my tone.

We had fun working together on many school projects. My help created a wall for my artist son -- he doesn't jump into writing projects with the passion and energy of rebellion. The instinct to feel "I'll do it!  I can do it," has been quashed by an overly helpful Mom.

We chat about domestic problems, shopping, renovations (what color to paint things), his guitars, my ballet slippers, music that I use and music that he's fallen in love with. Lately we joke/rant a bit about growing older -- me showing how I handle it courageously, him having to handle it because he's an actor.

There are endless conversations about what his famous actor-singer Dad is doing and how success works for Dad but doesn't work for him. We share, sometimes uncomfortably -- facts of life -- realities.

Love? Since age 15 there have been lovely looking, talented, exceptionally interesting girls, in my son's life, and one wife -- all of them continue to be my daughters. The wife whom he divorced is a best friend -- I've helped her with her career. I wonder but don't wonder much about why hasn't he found the right woman. I don't want a psychoanalytic relationship with my son. I'm just there for him.

So as he progresses -- changes, looks ahead or looks back -- his mom can nod, recall, reflect on his life with him without interrupting, distracting, overly influencing where he's heading.

I like that. I am still the woman in this photo.
Yes, I'm a reference book -- a book of knowledge about his life -- what he is, and did, and does, and reached and still reaches for. I can't tell him what to do, but I remind him of what's important to him, to us.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

SELL, SELL, SELL

I'm tired, bored, sick of posting book covers, sell-sell sell links, sentences, summaries, but no one will read my books if I don't keep sell-selling 'em.



I'm NOT a saleslady.

Yes, I put in a lot of time promoting my blog, promoting my novels, but ...

Yikes, I AM a saleslady!!!!!!! 

Dancer Em, in her youth, learned to SELL her looks, promote her resumé, make brochures, flyers, write ad copy, and SELL exciting, varied, choreography.

Yes, you are a secretary writing letters. You are a phone operator making and answering calls. You are a file clerk, typist, bookkeeper. And errand girl, messenger service, cleaning girl, shopper, chief cook, bottle-washer -- PLUS the do-everything-gal-Friday, every day of the week.

"Success" becomes SELLING more so, SELLING harder.

As you mature, you become a CEO, boss, leader, personnel manager in charge of hiring helpers and professionals to create fancier ads and brochures, while you are SELLING tickets to performances, SELLING agents on selling you and your ever larger organization, -- all this while you are mothering high-and-low level employees such as dancers, actors, musicians, or seamstress, tailor. chauffeur, floor mopper. 

You SELL-SELL promoting your various doings -- projects that are a big hit or not a big hit -- turning them into smash hits in ads, at interviews, lunches, cocktail parties with critics and your peers, SELLING yourself gracefully, humbly, honestly, eloquently as you are transforming yourself into a successful, sophisticated "somebody."

Sell applies to everything Em created: "Cyrano" (made money), "People in Show Biz" (lost money); "Shattering Panes," Off-Broadway, and "Kings" On Broadway.(lost money); all the other plays, projects, readings, showcases, (even the book about Em that a sports writer wrote), required publicists, PR agents, producers, fund-raising, and SELLING.

Even giving away tickets, padding the house requires SELLING. That's reality.

Like a salesclerk behind a counter, like a poor flower girl, you continue to SELL YOU -- your ideas, your stuff, your talents, in order to acquire the very best manager, top notch lawyer -- yes, even a maid.

Then, only then, confidently, knowledgeably, humbly, honestly, you write your first novel, and while you're selling it, write another and another, and another.

'Tis reality -- more or less the end of Em's story
of how to attain and maintain, without fear, an everlasting career, plus fun, and a modicum of glory. 








Tuesday, February 21, 2017

(VIDEO) JOHN CULLUM'S THREE WISHES

Talking about one's wishes is an easy, fun topic. But John Cullum surprises his wife, Emily Frankel.


He is apparently not in the mood. Their discussion becomes an argument that she tries to smooth over but can't smooth over. Can they resolve it?




Thursday, February 16, 2017

CULLUM READS "KAREN OF TROY"

John Cullum reads the opening chapter of Emily Frankel's "Karen of Troy," a tale of perseverance and strength -- a shattered, fifty-ish ex wife/mom, coping with divorce, 4 daughters and ailing mother, attends law school -- while finding a new self, amuses and inspires us with her thoughts on fitting into today's world.

Click title:  Karen of Troy
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UP UP GO AMAZING BUILDINGS

Scan the New York City skyline and there's a new high -- 432 Park Avenue -- a pencil-thin, tall, concrete structure rising above Central Park.
My neck hurts when I walk by it and look up, up, up.

It's a residence, the tallest one in New York City, and the city's second-tallest building -- 1446 feet tall and 95 floors, while the 1,774 foot One World Trade Center has 104 floors. 

Here's how the city looks from the 95th floor, the million dollar penthouse's master bathroom.

In 1930, the first-ever super-tall, 1,046 foot Chrysler Building, was completed with its 77 floors. For 60 years thereafter, the U.S. was the only country to have buildings that were more than 984 feet tall. The Empire State Building, built during the depression, reigned as the tallest building in the world with its 1,250 feet and 102 floors for 41 years until the World Trade Center (1,368 feet, 110 floors) was completed in 1972. Two years later it was surpassed by Chicago's 1,450 foot-110 floor-Sears Tower that was the world's tallest building for 24 years.

The development of the elevator, the evolving use of steel beams, columns, and glass enabled architects to build taller  structures. In 1998, the Petronas Tower (1,483 feet, 88 floors) opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2004, the 1,670 foot Taipei was completed in Taiwan. In 2011 the Burj Dubai became the world's tallest building at 2,716 feet, 160 floors, and it contains the world's fastest elevators.

What is it this up up up trend?

Tall, tallest, taller is very tall.
Too many floors make it a mall.
Looking down at the street is a feat--
You fearfully feel you might fall.

Architecture, nowadays, has gone far beyond tall. Wildly-weird buildings are being built for many, many millions of dollars. Eeny-meeny-mini-moe, which one would you like to go and visit.

What about The Cobra tower?


When I showed this photo to my husband, he asked "Were is it?" I was surprised to learn that some people say it's in Kuwait, others mention another city -- apparently it hasn't yet been built. The photo sent me scurrying around the web and finding other marvelous buildings and this video.

Wow -- it's pictures of 35 most amazing (and some of the weirdest) buildings in the world. Browse --  brace yourself for gasps, chuckles, utter amazement and click the link.

Friday, February 10, 2017

OUR STUDIO THEATER

Here's a photo of the space -- it's where I exercise and dance every day. 

In the next picture, you see how the room looks when the black curtains that are on both walls are closed, and the theater lights are on. There are 65 seats.

We don't rent out this space. My husband John and I use it for our own projects. I've used the studio for creating choreography, for rehearsing my dance company, and teaching dance classes; the space has also been used by us for staging shows, plays, play readings, as well as raising funds to produce our theater projects.

A lot of very well-known people have been invited to our studio-theater, and seen our projects. That's what you do if you're trying to make a name for yourself in dance or theater. My husband, Broadway Star John Cullum, has done thousands of auditions and showcase performances in the course of his amazing career. Even now, he'll audition for projects that interest him.

The floor space is 40 x 25. The sound equipment, designed for me by Peter Bartok, Bela Bartok's son, is on a rolling platform. It's powerful professional equipment, that we've used in Broadway and Off-Broadway Theaters. Our lighting equipment is homemade -- John and I scrounged large tomato cans from neighborhood restaurants, converted them, and made tinfoil frames to hold the gels for each light. Our homemade dimmer board sits in the dressing rooms that are next to our two offices.

Above my office is storage space for costumes, props, trunks and boxes with which I traveled when I toured the world, under state department auspices, with my dance company, and toured as a soloist with symphony orchestra.

In the picture above, what you see in the center of the floor are the chairs and portable barre that are the stage set for the dance I perform to "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Seven days a week, I dance to a four-minute section of this music.

When I'm performing, you don't see typical dance steps such as leaps, pirouettes, and intricate footwork. Instead, dancer Em visits the room and discovers each prop -- relating to each, with curiosity and tenderness, recalling how it was used. In the fourth section of "Fantasia," standing tall on the double set of chairs, dancer Em surveys the room. Then, recapitulating dancer Em's pleasure with these props, with many dance steps, triumphantly I leave the room.

 Dancing has been the major part of my life since I was ten-years-old. I dance -- like people who go to church -- I just go into my studio, warmup at the barre, turn on switches on the rolling table, and the Vaughan Williams music begins.

Listen to what I hear, and perhaps you'll understand how the music gets me revisiting the room, the space, remembering, reliving, and dancing. Having seen the theater we built, and heard how we use this space, we hope you enjoyed your visit. The great Eugene Ormandy is conducting the music. 



Monday, February 6, 2017

THE GIFS INVASION

What's a GIF?

It's an acronym for G raphics I nterchange F ormat. You pronounce GIF the way you pronounce JIF -- the name on this jar of peanut butter.  

GIFs have been around since dial-up modems. Back in 1987, Steve Wilhite, a tech guy, created the first one. He drew an animated airplane. Connections were much too slow for videos, so Steve created a moving image with hardly any data.

It was this.

Okay, GIFs have evolved into an everyday, easy way of communicating. Blame it on the smartphone with its lovely small screen that you can quickly check and in a second get right to the picture. GIFs are faster than texting, emojis, or icons. If you want to be super creative when you're expressing an idea, click here -- GIPHY.COM. Type any word, and you'll see a bunch of choices.

Here's the GIF of me wondering about my future as a blogger....
Hey, facebookers, tweeters, instagramers, snapchatterers, and smartphoners, if you enjoy conversing with pals, I seriously suspect that communicating with photos (jpgs) and words is disappearing. 

(Why? Because many people, nowadays, needed a raison d'etre -- a reason to get up in the morning, a reason for being. Money guys whose raison d'etre is making money, are raking in billions because we need their help.)

Giphy, one of the most trafficked sites on the web, valued at $600 million, serves up tens of billions of GIFs each month.
Riffsy raised $10 million and made a GIF keyboard that you can download on your phone and type sentences of GIFs.
Daycap stitches together photos you took on your phone throughout the day and generates a GIF that you send to your friends who like to know what you’ve done all day.

It seems as if every generation fears that some new medium will be the end of  intelligence. Twitter seemed that way last decade. In the 80's, cable-TV news alarmed those reared on The New York Times. Hey, in 400 B.C. Socrates lamented because "the written word means people will no longer have to completely remember everything."

Ah sweet progress...

GIF is a present day heirogliph--
A jiggly pic that's gets stiff
In a jiffy of a jif.

It's not g-i-f with a t--  
But a swift way for you and me
To refer to (and prefer),
An impression of what you feel
That isn't very real.

Guys, I fear
What I write is no longer dear--
My blogs ain't gonna be read,
Instead...
You'll see
Quicki, bitty, vidi's for kiddies
That in a flash,
are 
    old
        useless
                  trash.


Blogger Em