Sunday, May 19, 2019


John Cullum and Em talk about how they think differently, when they're making decisions.

Em loves the way John's mind works in a straight line, John loves the speedy way Em gathers information. Each thinks the other is smarter.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


Get to know Lizzo.
She's thirty-one years old, five-foot-ten. While performing songs she's written about love--rapping, belting operatic high notes, shimmying with her more than ample thighs on display--she expresses inner thoughts, like--"Don’t say it, ’cause I know I’m cute. It's been a journey, but I do love my fat."

Her music, straight-up hip-hop to guitar, is soul to funk-pop. It's joyous empowering feminism, large, boisterous and unapologetic, in a style that fits plus-size Lizzo, who declares, “My space is for all the big black girls in the future who just want to be seen.”

The fact is, Lizzo isn’t the only artist spreading a message of self-worth, body positivity, and unabashed female sexuality. Rappers such as Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill blazed a trail and their successors include Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, women whose messages flow from the cultural movements surrounding feminism, identity and visibility.

Growing up in Houston, she played a classical flute. In college, she played in the marching band and did some rapping; dropping out and living in a car after her father died, ended up in Minneapolis, doing five shows a week with an Indie group, released two records, and worked with Prince at his famous Paisley Park home.

Now, her first major-label recording is out--"Cuz  I Love You" with Lizzo playing her flute onstage, switching from rapping to singing.

This video has had 22 million Spotify downloads.

It’s only recently, thanks to the music streaming boom and social media, that women in the world of hip-hop have been able to make their mark, like Cardi B, with her big hit, “Bodak Yellow” that has become a blue print for more artists to follow. But Lizzo says realistically, "Even if there’s a shift, we’re not at the mountaintop.”

With her good face and good voice easily transcending her repetitious lyrics and amateurish dancing in raunchy outfits, her passion to be herself and not try to adhere to the typical standards of feminine beauty, is wonderfully important.

Yes, as Lizzo does more albums and gets more famous, I think she will be a name, a big star, on the mountain top of her field.

Thursday, May 9, 2019


Meet Peter Tabichi, a Kenyan educator, winner of the 2019 Global Teacher prize, as the "World's Best Teacher. It's an annual competition sponsored by a British global charity focused on improving education for underprivileged  children .

Peter, age 37, a Franciscan brother, is donating some of prize money to his school, Keriko Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru. The rest of the money will help feed the poor. He's already been giving away 80 percent of his salary to students who can't afford uniforms or books.

The school's crowded, doesn't have a library, lacks resources, but that hasn't stopped Tabichi from providing his students with high level education--several have gone on to compete in international science competitions. The Global Teacher Prize Judges said, "Because of his hard work, Peter Tabichi has dramatically beaten out more than 10,000 nominees from 179 countries."

The day he received the award, Peter Tabichi told BBC News, "It's morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa's time."

You will see in this video the energy, passion--the determination in this man--to produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, males and females, whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world.

Sunday, May 5, 2019


Here's John and Emily in back in 2011, that tells how we're reacting to the campaign season of now.

Feeling as if we still hadn't recovered from the last election, we're fretting about polls, predictions, headlines, and names--all those Republicans selling themselves, planning to run.

Monday, April 29, 2019


After more than two dozen horses in  just three months. died at the Santa Anita track in Southern California, the track officials are suspending operations to figure out why.

Horse fatalities at Turf Paradise horse racing track in Phoenix have spiked recently. No one seems to know why. Browsing around, I learned that 10 horses have died at the four day Cheltenham Racecourse Festival in Great Britain. I visited "Equine Death and Breakdown" on Open Data NY, and was stunned. Throughout America 817 horses are known to have died while  training in 2018. (Activists says the toll is actually 2000.)

Some authorities say the 1,200 pound "equine athletes" are often heavily drugged to mask injuries and fatigue. During training and running a race, horses develop fractures that lead to sudden leg breaks, forcing trainers to put them down.

I think we should keep our eyes on the sports news for May--see how many thorobreds die, before, after or during a race.
  • Kentucky Oaks – May 3, 2019
  • Kentucky Derby – May 4, 2019
  • Virginia Gold Cup – May 4, 2019
  • Iroquois Steeple Chase – May 11, 2019
  • Runhappy Stakes – May 11, 2019
  • Preakness Stakes – May 16, 2019
AND remember the Ringling Brothers Circus--public revulsion over the mistreatment of elephants--it shuttered the circus.

Alas, if horse racing can't halt the epidemic, it too, will disappear

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Week Magazine are talking about Nuclear power. They are quoting scientists who are saying that keeping existing nuclear plants open and building dozens of new ones can help many countries, and enable the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Here's the scary numbers: If we don't reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and get to zero by 2050, extreme weather--devastating droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms--will get worse and occur more frequently.

After seeing Jane Fonda, and Jack Lemon in "China Syndrome," we're remembering "The Three Mile Island Incident" of 1979, and Chernobyl, 1986. And Fukushima, 2011 is still haunting us.

Actually, there have been at least 56 "accidents," (no deaths, but millions spent on repairs), at various nuclear reactors in the U.S. Even so, building more nuclear plants to generate electricity is being touted as a miraculous solution to the world's energy needs. Perturbing fact--Germany spent $580 billion on renewables (wind and solar), but electric bills in Germany are the highest in Europe, and its emissions have not been reduced. On the other hand, Sweden's three nuclear power plants with just eight nuclear reactors, along with the hydroelectric plants in Sweden's rivers, using water, a renewable, are generating electricity, and supply more than 40 percent of Sweden's energy needs, while other renewables supply the rest. Fascinating fact: Sweden's emissions have dropped by half.

Couldn't the U.S and other countries do what Sweden has done?

 None of the articles in the prestigious newspapers suggest action.

Hey, I'm an ex dancer blogger-writer, not a facilitator or activist, but guys, THIS is something we need to investigate--not ASAP--but do now--start doing right away, immediately!

Friday, April 19, 2019


John Cullum and wife Emily Frankel are revving up do a video and sharing visions of things to nibble.

Also contemplating sharing some fascinating 'snacks for the mind.'

Sunday, April 14, 2019


I remember, maybe you remember seeing Michael J. Fox when he was an exceptionally good-looking, successful actor in TV series "Family Ties,"and  "Spin City," and became an international star in the "Back to the Future Trilogy," "The Hard Way," "Doc Hollywood," "The Secret of My Success," "Bright Lights, Big City," and "The American President."

Wham! Fate, bad luck (whatever you call it) hit him.

Age 29, in 1991 Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, an incurable, progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. He didn't disclose his condition to the public till 1998. He partly retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened.

These photos indicate how it changed the way he looked.
In January, the New York Times said, "Fox has had a remarkably successful second act. After going public with his Parkinson's diagnosis in 1998. he's raised 800 million to combat the disease. He's written three best selling books, despite Parkinson's physical limitations, has performed important roles in a string of hit TV shows, and has a famously happy family life."

Now, at 57, Michael says, "I'd developed a relationship with Parkinson's where it left me areas I could still flourish in."
      That changed last year. He developed a spinal problem that required surgery and extensive rehab. He largely recovered, only to fall at home in August and fracture his ankle. He says, "Those setbacks brought places where I wondered was it false hope I'd been selling? Is there a line beyond which there is no consolation?" Dealing with when he couldn't walk, had health aides 24 hours a day--Michael remembers asking himself if he was still able to tell himself, "Hey, chin up!"
       "Yes" was his answer.

Friends, readers, grab what you can from this. Michael J. Fox sees each day through lens of optimism, and takes on a day with--not just hope--but a very strong, exceptionally strong flow of positive thoughts.

He says of his life, "If the worse I've had is as bad as it gets, it's been amazing."

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


On a huge green lawn in Montgomery, Alabama, sits the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, for people who were lynched.

In the main building, proceeding down a grim walkway with 800 weathered steel columns hanging from a roof, on each column is the name of a county and the people who were lynched there, most listed by name, many simply as "unknown." The columns seem like the headstones. As you walk, the floor gradually descends till the columns are all dangling above you, leaving you looking up just like the callous spectators in photographs of public lynchings.

The magnitude of the killing is harrowing, more so when paired with the circumstances of individual lynchings that are described in brief summaries along the walk: Parks Banks, lynched in Mississippi in 1922 for carrying a photograph of a white woman; Caleb Gadly, hanged in Kentucky in 1894 for "walking behind the wife of his white employer," Mary Turner, who after denouncing her husband’s lynching by a white mob, was hung upside down, burned and then sliced open so that her unborn child fell to the ground.

Brian Stevenson and a small group of lawyers who were inspired by the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, spent years immersing themselves in the archives of county libraries that documented thousands of lynching. Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, nonprofit organization behind the Alabama memorial, Stevenson said, "Just seeing the names of these people, many never named in public--there's nothing like this in the county."

Thus far, they've cataloged 4,400. On the huge green lawn there are duplicates of each steel column arranged like coffins, names of persons lynched, where visitors often sit and rest. Could you sit there and rest? I couldn't. The awareness of so many people lynched, is overwhelming.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Yii---GNATS,GNATS !!!!

Tiny, teeny flies (gnats) were everywhere in our kitchen even even though our exterminator used a bug bomb.

Finding ourselves having to spray with bug killer each and every time we entered the kitchen, Bdway star John Cullum strategized. Here's what he did to rid us of this plague.

Saturday, March 30, 2019


This  is what I wrote about Justin Bieber June 1, 2010.

Wow! is all I really need to say. Justin Bieber is neat, boyishly perfect looking, with a sweet-sounding voice  that tenderly croons, and belts out:
"My first love broke my heart for the first time,
And I was like
Baby, baby, baby ohhh
Like baby, baby, baby noo
Like baby, baby, baby ohh
I thought you'd always be mine mine."

I bet we'll be hearing his recordings, and hearing about him for years and years. His success is a show business, good-luck-fairy-tale--the story of a Disney-discovered boy--great looking, great hair, energetic, persevering kid who started with a perfect debut song, "On Time," then a first album going platinum,  then the "new artist of the year" award, then 7 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart, then hit song  "Baby" in his recent, first studio release.

Around 2010, in a musical that bombed, I saw a fantastic singer with "soul" in her voice and every move. I even wrote her a letter. And now, I can't remember her name. Her next show, and the next one, just didn't work. In dance (my field), I've seen two male dancers and one female with "soul"--performers with the crackling extra flash, a centeredness that compels your eye to watch and feel their movement in your own muscles. I know their names, but you don't--all three are teachers now.

Today, Justin Bieber, is more famous than ever. That he's seeing a shrink, got a new tattoo, that he cut his hair, likes to wear a baseball cap, is being discussed in TV interviews that suggest he loves someone else/he wants a divorce/his wife's pregnant.

Depressed or not, his latest hits are marvelously performed, but lately, for instance on Ellen DeGeneres show, he was shockingly passive, answered her questions minimally, not being funny, charming or telling an interesting story. He sat there. Golly, all he has to do is be himself and thousands of fans love him, but he just sat there silently.

Last night Entertainment Tonight said, "Justin wants to be a great Dad for his children." (Bet that's  troubling him--he'll be on one of his world tours while they're growing up.)

It hit me--"being himself " isn't easy. Being myself and writing about him isn't easy--it's hard work. His music isn't my cup of tea. Elvis--that's for me, and the classic B guys--Beethoven, Bach, Bartok.

Anyhow, Justin N O W is the wow of the of the younger generation, who think he's sublime, but their taste isn't mine.

Monday, March 25, 2019


HBO's documentary "Leaving Neverland" is four-hours in which two grownups recount in horrific, methodical detail how they were befriended, at age 7 and 10, and seduced into years of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson.

Right now the air is filled with people that want Michael Jackson videos and music banned, while others want Michael and his music to continue to be revered.

Reuters said, "Hip Hop star, Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., known as T.I., spoke for millions of decent Americans when he took to Instagram to protest the response to HBO's documentary and said, "Let this man speak for himself to defend his legacy. Don't just listen to one side and expect to find truth. Dead men can't speak."
      Reuters criticized Amazon for selling reissues of  Mick Jagger's "Exile on Main Street," and posthumous David Bowie live albums, stating: "Why is the legacy of the most beloved black pop star of the last century, the only African-American entertainer, something opinion writers can dispense with in an instant? There are many things we could afford to do away with before we lose him in an ill-thought-out fit of moral preening."

The Washington Post reporter refers to the child molestation in 2005, that found Jackson innocent, and reports the Jackson family estate calls the grownups in the film "liars," and is suing HBO for $100 million--"The film will convince all but the willfully blind of Jackson’s guilt. The question now is what we do, as a culture, with Jackson’s songs. My answer? Turn off the music and listen to these it or not, Jackson’s music is probably with us for eternity-- his songbook suddenly feels even wider, more lifelike in the saddest way."

The U K Guardian reports that Jackson is banned from radio and TV, but trying to cancel his music you deal with "The sheer magnitude of his footprint. We could stop playing his songs tomorrow and the transcendent beats of 'Billie Jean' and 'Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough' would still be woven into the rhythmic DNA of modern music."

Website states: "Two facts--Jackson changed the sound of global pop, bringing joy to billions, and he almost certainly molested children. Neither fact alters the other. Disavowing Jackson’s music would be an empty rhetorical flourish that would do nothing to repair the harm he caused his victims."

USA Today: "We can’t heal his victims’ wounds, but if we stopped listening to his music we could at least dry up the revenue stream that Jackson used during his life to facilitate and get away with his abuse of children, revenue his estate is using posthumously to try to discredit the two men in HBO's 'Leaving Neverland.' It’s all very well to talk in theoretical terms about the need to separate the art from the artist in the now countless cases of abusive men. But when we ignore an artist’s crimes, and continue to consume his art, the reality is that we are upholding the power structure that contributes to these crimes happening in the first place."

The New York Times focused on how M J disfigured himself with unnecessary plastic surgeries. "After seeing the HBO documentary, it’s hard not to see Jackson’s obsession with transformation as a semiconscious manifestation of a more semiconscious manifestation of a monster that lurked within."

Grabbing phrases from these opinions, I say, Why destroy another strong black historical  legend?  There are many things we could afford to do away with before we lose him in an ill-thought-out fit of moral preening. If we lose M J--should we lose him--he is part of our life, our culture, our history--his music, and dancing continue to inspire us and inflame our creativity. If you erase Michael Jackson, he will still be here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


John Cullum recalls people who've been intensely in his life, who deeply affected him.


Naming a few well-known creators, actors and directors, John reveals he thinks about them over and over.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


"The Oscars" with no host rang a doomful bell, for Conan O'Brien.
He told the New York Times reporter who was interviewing him, "There was no host last night, and the show did better! Ratings were up eleven percent. So today, people were saying, ‘Maybe we don’t need a host anymore.’ Do you know what that means to me? Do you know how terrifying that concept is? All last night I was, like, tossing and turning. ‘End of hosts! No host! Hosts gone!’

Host Conan, age 56, said throughout his career, he's been striving to be the number one show.  He's been a number one--valedictorian in high school, President of the Harvard Lampoon, after graduating, wrote for comedy shows in Los Angeles--on the writing staff of "Saturday Night Live," writer and producer for "The Simpsons," took over David Letterman's position as host of "Late Night" in 1993. Despite unfavorable reviews, Conan stayed on, and improved. He was highly regarded by the time of his departure in 2009. O'Brien relocated from New York to Los Angeles to host his own incarnation of "The Tonight Show"--lost the show to its former host, Jay Leno in an embarrassing coup, and moved his late-night show to TBS.

"Late Night with Conan O'Brian"  has been broadcasting Monday through Thursday nights at 11p.m.  on TBS. Conan enjoys quoting what critics have been saying about his "awkward, self-deprecating humor that combines the lewd and wacky" Conan, with more elegant short films he calls "remotes," that he makes at various  locations.

After a three month hiatus, he reopened his show on TBS with a revised format in January 2019.  With the retirement of Letterman in 2015, Conan O'Brien has become the longest-working of all current late-night talk show hosts in the United States.

When I watch his show, I enjoy his dancer-physicality, his tallness and agility, but the fact is, I get restless watching hosts chatting with an up-and-coming good-looking girl or guy. Maybe when Letterman quit it was time to find another way to keep us night-time TV-watchers entertained. I think one of the problems for Conan, is that he doesn't have what Carson, Letterman and Leno had--a relaxed, genial, ordinary guy something-or-other--that got us feeling they were pals.

O'Brien himself said what he learned from losing the "Tonight Show" is that his instinctive Irish Catholic inner voice of disapproval is off-putting. Working with his psychotherapist, and the shorter format for his shows, has enabled him to change his inner voice, and relax/soften the Harvard, Boston, and over our heads tone, of a person who's been in therapy.

"Rolling Stone Magazine's" January 21st issue featured an article on O'Brien. Conan said he loves touring, performing in different towns in different countries where people haven't been watching night-time entertainment shows. He's having a wonderful time finding how to be his real self. His new podcast, "Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend," is currently the number one podcast on iTunes. He just wrapped up an 18-city tour that had him goofing off in front of packed theaters, and tomorrow night he will re-launch his late-night show, "Conan, In a 30-minute Format" which he calls it a “smaller cookie, more chocolate chips.”

Illustration by Mark Summers
Hurray Conan--golly, I love the look of the real guy this drawing, and the show--I love the small cookie with more chips.

Monday, March 11, 2019


CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is being hailed as a miracle drug, a compound in marijuana.
(pronounce emphasizing DI)
When ingested, affects "cannabinoid" receptors throughout your body, which have a regulatory function. It doesn't get you high. THC is the component in marijuana that makes people euphoric.

CBD's been purported to do just about everything that bothers you--relieve pain; reduce anxiety and stress, treat inflammation, insomnia, headaches, hangovers, nausea, skin disorders, joint pain, muscle spasms, and period cramps. It used to be sold in medical marijuana shops, but now products made from hemp, marijuana's low-THC cousin, are available online, in health-food stores, supermarkets, even gas stations. Sales are soaring following endorsements from celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Joe Rogan, and wellness tycoon Gwyneth Paltrow.

You can puff it from a vaporizer, but it's mainly produced as an oil concentrate that you mix in juice, and other liquids you drink. It's being blended into lotions, ointments, and added to nearly every food imaginable, from ice cream and smoothies to gumdrops and salad dressing. Last summer, Willie Nelson began selling "Willie's Remedy," a CBD-infused coffee. Coca-Cola is rumored to be considering bringing CBD beverages to the mass market.

Is it legal? The Food and Drug Administration still classifies CBD made from the marijuana plant as a Schedule 1 substance, along with drugs like heroin and LSD. Even so, many small shops and online retailers sell hemp-derived CBD in states where marijuana is banned. The legality got a big boost in December, when President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized commercial hemp production, that was outlawed in 1937.

Hemp, a cannabis plant that has less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC, is mostly used to make products like rope, paper, and textiles. The new law won't legalize hemp-derived CBD, but opens the door for it to become federally regulated. Without regulation, CBD products are marketed about as reliable as snake oil. Studies examining 84 CBD products found that nearly 70 percent were mislabeled--some have more CBD, some significantly less. Some contained a enough THC to show up on a drug test.

Scientists say high-quality clinical trials on humans need to be conducted to verify CBD's benefits--dosage levels, side effects, interactions with other drugs. There's been very little research, but unlike crystals and healing bracelets, CBD clearly does have biological effects.

What about cost? When purchasing an oil, the price per milligram (mg) is key. Consider the following example: Bottle A -1 ounce of CBD oil, costs $30. Bottle B - 1 ounce of CBD oil, costs $150. The bottle suggests how many drops--once or twice a day, for how long. Shop around online. See a brand name that's on various websites--pick one, based on what makes sense to you.

 CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon says, "I think there is a legitimate medicine here. We're talking about something that could really help people." Dr. Margaret Haney, director of Columbia University's Marijuana Research Laboratory, says, "There's an enormous placebo effect. If you go in with this expectation, with all of society saying this will cure whatever ails you, it often will."

Today, I started shopping. Wish me luck with insomnia...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Emily Frankel, bemoaning that she's stuck artistically, wants to know if that ever happens to to John, her husband.

John recalls a fan who stopped him in the middle of a performance--how he handled it coolly, but he surprises Emily, even surprises himself, as he reveals what being stuck artistically does to him.

Friday, March 1, 2019


When we three are together
No matter what the weather
We share
We care
The moments are treasured
But ours forever.
When we three are together       

                                             March 2 JOHN
                                             March 1  JD

Sunday, February 24, 2019


David Asprey, age 45, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee that popularized adding a slice of butter to your morning coffee, plans to live till he's at least 180. Superhuman longevity is central to his work as a life style and wellness guru.
He's a biohacker (bio as in biology), experimenting and using himself on what he learns from researching here and there. Do-it-yourself biology is a growing biotechnological social movement in which individuals, communities, and small organizations study biology and life science using the same methods as traditional research institutions.

From the detailed report on him in Men's Health Magazine, we learn he's had the most extensive stem-cell treatment that’s ever been done on a person at one time. The surgeon extracted bone marrow from his hips, filtered out stem cells, and injected stem cells into every joint in Asprey’s body that affects physical prowess, as well as looks, and sexuality. He'll have this surgery again as he ages.
Asprey at his gym.
He takes one-hundred supplements daily, religiously follows a low-carb, high-fat diet, bathes in infared light, chills in a cryotherapy chamber, and relaxes in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, sleeps on an atmospheric cell trainer bed of infrared lights that vibrates 30 times per second. He wears special yellow-lensed glasses that protect him from junk light when he  leaves his offices or home.

Over the past decade, he’s published five books on subjects ranging from  fertility to "Better Baby Book," which he co-wrote with his wife, a physician. His podcast, Bulletproof Radio, has been downloaded more than 75 million times. He tweets inspirational messages to his 332,000 Twitter followers, and advises them about sex, sleep, and diet, though he has no medical degree or nutritional training.

Asprey, wife, and their two sons live in B.C. Canada, a short trip by plane to the Bulletproof offices in Seattle. He's nicknamed his office  "Alpha Labs." It's exercise gadgets in a high-intensity interval circuit that can deliver two and a half hours of exercise in 21 minutes, with no Aerobics." He warns clients in one of his podcasts, "Aerobic exercise may be destroying your body.”

Having spent at least a million dollars hacking his own biology, and more than $700,000 on Alpha Labs, Asbrey remarks with a sense of humor, "Hanging around for another 140 years, making it to 2153, will certainly take several million more, if I don't die trying to get there."

Other hackers point out that Asprey’s lack of official credentials benefits him--there’s a huge distrust of mainstream medicine now, so not being a doctor is an asset. Rachel Monroe, the highly respected author, who wrote the article in Men's Health, expresses amazement and occasionally skepticism about what biohacking is doing for him personally and financially. (Here's the article by Monroe, with more about all this.)

 Asprey points to his track record: “Whether or not you have a piece of paper isn’t a great indication of whether you’ll help hundreds of thousands of people." He chuckles as he says, “The bottom line is if the risk-reward ratio is pretty good and you want to be in control of your own biology, why not try it?”

What sits in my mind is his easy-come/easy-go handling of millions of dollars, the successful- handsome-man photos of him everywhere, and him owning the company you'll be paying to upgrade your mind and body so you can live to 180. It gets me, eyebrows raised, wondering if he's a visionary exploring new frontiers, or a very creative huckster.

Guys. I can't imagine how I'd look at age 180. I don't think I'll be around in 2153. Do you think you might be?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


John Cullum seizes the topic, blurting out how learning lines has gotten more difficult.

Though his wife Emily praises his heightened skills as a actor, he wishes he had her intense concentration, and her ability to do three things at once.
     The Cullums tease each other about things they used to do faster and better.


Thursday, February 14, 2019


Meet Banksy, 45, a Brit who's got the art world talking about him.  In October he stuck his picture, "Girl with Balloon," in his shredder, cut the canvas into ribbons and while he selling the ribbons, it sold at auction for $1.4 million.

This is one of his self portraits as a lawbreaking vandal, political activist, provocateur, who upsets  people with his satirical street art and epigrams that combine humor with graffiti--all of it done in his distinctive stenciling style. Banksy says, "The poet produces poems, the painter produces paintings, the criminal produces crimes. If you can do all three at once, you can really confuse the shit out of them."

This guy defaces homes, street corners and walls, stenciling pictures in odd places. A famous 3 x 4 ft  Banksy that's at the top of a tall building cannot be seen unless you climb ladders. You can't see his "Grim Reaper" stencil unless you take a boat trip. Without getting permission, he'll create a stencil on your house. A ramshackle house with a Banksy on it will sell for millions.

So where can you go to see one of his works? The New York Times says, "At the Brooklyn Museum one of his artworks was surreptitiously placed there by the him--a soldier in a red coat holding a can of spray paint, with anti-war graffiti in the background. The Museum of Modern Art has a stencil of a can of cream-of-tomato soup that was found in an elevator. They're not sure it's a Banksy so it's not on display.

Here's Banksy stuff you might see in London.

Banksy's last face-to-face interview took place in 2003, but I found this wall stencil with a 45-ish, ordinary, balding guy who looks like he's discussing it. Bet it's him.

"Pest Control" is the name of the organization set up by him to control his business. He says, "It has never been easier to sell one's art. You don't have to go to college, drag around a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries, or sleep with someone powerful. All you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people We need to make it count!"

The shredded girl picture, auctioned for $1.4 million in 2018, is now worth double.

Banksy net worth: $50 million.

Attending auctions or interviews, he wears a paper bag over his head.  Protected from negative reviews, intellectual discussions of his art, as well as negotiations, Banksy is clearly a super, successful artist whose work we will surely be seeing in various major museums through out the world.

...that paper bag over his head...what a wonderfully appropriately creative, perfect self-portrait...


Saturday, February 9, 2019


You are sitting on this bench.
The busy world across the way makes you feel lonely. Or does it?

I waded through a two page article on the "loneliness epidemic in America." It quoted former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy saying: "During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes, it was loneliness." The article quoted other big name researchers who've said loneliness causes high blood pressure, weakens the immune system, shortens a person' s life by 15 years like obesity, like smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

In the photo below, is that you feeling lonely as you're watching the bird, the waves and the horizon? Or are you just a person who is alone?

Thomas Wolfe, one of my favorite authors said, "The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence."

Like the person just below, who is heading into the distance, the footsteps--the path you make by yourself --are just  steps you make by yourself, alone.

I have a husband and son and we are deeply loving, deeply connected family, sharing thoughts about ourselves, but we are, even so, very separate human beings. Yes, even though, sometimes, the chair next to me is empty.
Guys, if  the picture above makes you aware of what others have and you lack, turn the page, and change the thought. 

Philosopher Kahil Gibran said, "Love one another but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls." Also Tennessee Williams, a very inspiring playwright, said, "We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life." And according to Nietzsche, "Loneliness is one thing, solitude another." Even Marilyn Monroe said, "I restore myself when I'm alone."

More than any other person, what Orson Welles said rings in my mind. "We are born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we are not alone."

 Hold onto that. You are alone. It's YOU. Celebrate it. 

Grab aloneness. 

Monday, February 4, 2019


What can you do on a day when you're working on artistic things, when you keep getting interrupted by prosaic things you need to tend to immediately?

Take a look--see what John and Emily do. It might work for you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Here she is in her pretty-girl Seinfeld days. Here womanly Julie is winning her 6th Best Actress award for her hit HBO show, "Veep"

Watching her in reruns of Seinfeld, Julia as Elaine in "SEINFELD" continues to give me moments I enjoy freshly, even if I've seen the scene before. "The New Adventures of Old Christine" delighted me, and now I'm a fan of "Veep."

It's Julia's sense of humor. You feel she's saying the first thing that comes to her mind, not censoring, not thinking ahead--just reacting. What comes out of her mouth is surprising, fun, shocking, even ludicrous, ridiculous. Occasionally, it's witchy bitchy, blunt, crude, and what she's said even seems to surprise her. She reacts with a grunt or an oops, a big-eyed look with a slightly crooked smile which becomes  frown and turns back into a smile.

I love this picture: it's HER---the fearless, unique, theatrical cartoonist, who says and does whatever she feels like saying and doing.

Brace yourself as the video below rolls--you'll be chuckling. It takes us back in time to the days when politics was riveting, important, and interesting no matter which side you were on. And we enjoyed the quirks of the people involved, not feared and dreaded them as we're fearing and dreading them nowadays.

Hurray for Julia/Selina Meyer the "Veep," hurray  for the liberated guys who write this show, and the be-anything-do anything art of Julia Lewis-Dreyfus.