Saturday, August 8, 2009


Almost, not quite two months ago ... and every single day, there are reflections, blogs, articles, speculation, news bulletins, comments from famous people about Michael Jackson.

Hamlet muses, "...But two months dead! nay, not so much, not two ... "

So where are your thoughts about MJ? Are you, like me, annoyed by the intense focus, and yet, still listening, absorbing the occasional revelations?

I found myself riveted for a moment or two, when the new son and a one-night-stand with his mother hit the news, wondering about MJ's sex life, a little more than before, instinctively skeptical about him being capable of making love with a woman.

Seeing one of the interviews in depth again, the scene when Michael Jackson looks the interviewer in the eyes and says just two operations on his nose ... M speaking about his white skin ... M describing the naturalness of sharing one's bed with a child ... his clear words, clear-eyed look at the camera as well the interviewer ... My mind still exclaims what a good liar he is. WAS!

Watching for a few minutes, lawyer Mark Geragos and three others adding their speculations onto all other speculations, I groaned and turned it off.

How did he die? Why did he die?. Was it homicide? Was M's personal doctor negligent or responsible? It may be a very long time till we have a conclusive decision from the LAPD.

Germaine talking about his brother is touching. The wicked father appearing neither wicked nor guilty of any crime, really, other than being a father with sons he had to discipline. is ... well ... the father isn't a sympathetic character, but he doesn't seem to be the villain who turned his talented son into a ... strange ... unusual ... what?

MJ's clothes, all his outfits, his jewelry, tone of voice, his possessions, his favorite things, and especially what he says about the birth of his children -- to me it isn't homosexual, faggot, or gay chatter -- it's female.

I think he succeeded in transforming himself into a woman -- a uniquely graceful, gracious, thoughtful, extraordinarily creative, important singer-dancer performer who'll be affecting the next generation of pop stars, and the next, and probably the next.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I can't believe it's happening! I can't watch it!

I turn off ALL bug ads, roaches, bed bugs, green germs ads! I'm getting a scared, childlike, helpless, frantic feeling, hearing the furious folks yelling, screaming, in town hall meetings!

I'm seeing EXTREME anti health care ads on TV -- creepy REVOLTING comments -- what do I do, close my ears? ANNIHILATE them with RAID? .

Is there really, right here in the U.S., a mob of extremists creating this?

Are the protesters being paid by lobbying groups?

Are the big Health Care Providers pouring money into the war, hiring people to shout down Congressmen?

Is there anything good, hopeful, interesting, affirmative about what's going on?

I'm reading, looking, checking, Googling.


Then the FREEDOM WORKERS home page. Are they the guys who've been orchestrating the ambushing of key town hall meetings?

What about one of the many K STREET lobbyists? Or TPM? ( Tea Party Muckrakers?) What about the members of the RIGHT WING WATCH website. or SOURCE WATCH?

These groups are celebrating, listing the following events as VICTORIES:






Okay, so what's Obama's Deal With PhRMA? (The initials stand for The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America -- I don't know what the deal actually is, or why he made the deal., but I support the man we elected, who proves, time and again, that he can be trusted.

What do I do? Read more, listen more, write my Congressman? If you read this and have any ideas, any advice, any way you are handling this uncivil civil war, SOS --please, tell me, contact me, hurry -- let me know!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I needed money.

An agent from my Dance Drama Duo days phoned -- the midday show on WPIX TV wanted some dancing tomorrow -- two and a half minutes of dance before Cloris Leachman's spot on the show.

I said, "Uh-a-a- ..." Quickly explained that Mark Ryder wasn't available (we were divorced), but I could do a solo."

I got the booking. I had a solo, but it was "Ballad of the False Lady," not appropriate for TV, seven-minutes long, very "modern dance" in a long black dress.

Somebody said, If there's a will, there's a way ...

Sitting on the piano stool, I stared at my stack of records. (This was back in the days of 78's and the LP's.) I'd been single for a month. I'd been playing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." The Woody Herman and his orchestra version was on my record player's spindle, echoing in my lovelorn brain.

I turned the record over. The other side, "Laughing Boy Blues." was a weird piece -- woodwinds, then laughter, probably the guys in the band doing the "ha ha ha ha" theme, while the drummer did a jazzy, rock and roll rhythmic improvisation.

So I whirled on the piano stool, did a bouncy, bent-kneed step in my bare feet, echoing it with floppy arms. I un-clipped my hair -- tossed my hair and head up and down with the laughter theme, each time wilder, and faster. When the woodwinds were doing their moan theme, I imitated it with shoulders, and mournful frowning face.

I whipped up a costume-- blue leotard top and short skirt I sewed on my sewing machine -- seams and the hem were crooked, but with me on the piano stool, who would notice?

Cloris Leachman, the guest star, was already a name in television, theater, and films. She attended North Western University with one of my sisters . She watched me doing my number in the rehearsal. The station's piano stool whirled more easily, and faster than mine, making my movements more exciting. The stagehands and camera guys gave me the thumbs up, and appreciative nods.

When I introduced myself to Miss Leachman, she murmured, "Yes, I do remember your sister, your younger sister of course."

"Oh no..." I corrected her. "She's my older sister ."

"Oh .. really?" C.L. murmured skeptically.

"I'm the younger sister. She's definitely my older sister."

C.L.. gave me a withering look and turned away. Had I offended her? Maybe she didn't want me to think of her as a contemporary of my older sister.

At show time, dressed in my costume I warmed up holding onto a chair.

"Stand by." called the AD.

Cloris Leachman leaned in and said, "My God, you're wearing THAT, that ratty thing? You look awful!"

"Places Miss F." The AD called.

Cloris L caroled sweetly, with marvelous diction. "Break a leg, dear!"

Her good luck wish is not what a dancer needs to hear, and "ratty awful" was echoing as I did my "Laughing Boy Blues" bouncing, whirling, hair flying. a big down-frown on my face.

It was a hit. WPIX asked me back to do it again, the following week.

I didn't watched Cloris Leachman on "Dancing with the Stars." I wasn't thinking "break a leg, dear" but I was kind of relieved when I heard that she and her partner got the lowest scores.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We got CARS CARS CARS -- every couple of minutes on every TV channel, shiny, beautiful, sleek autos speeding, whizzing down empty beautiful country roadways.

And WOW -- maybe you'll get money for your clunker? Will
Congress put in another couple of billion to help the dealers who are helping car manufacturers who NEED to get rid of these cars, before they're bankrupt, before laws are passed that might make them ... OUT OF DATE?

Are you worried about the Clunkers? I am. Will the junkyard guy, whom I saw just ten minutes ago now on TV, inspire all the other junk yard guys to do what he's doing? He evaluates each new clunker, salvages the radiator, tires, battery, and crushes everything else ...

(... it got a little vague -- something was said about the crushed metal remnants being sent? sold? disposed of in other countries? where dealers buy the tangled crumpled chunk of metal? and do what with it? Make earrings, jewelry, wall decorations?)

And that nice junk yard guy -- suppose other parts of the car he evaluates are usable -- what does he do with those other parts?

It all sounds great, but do ALL dealers dispose of the clunkers, or re-sell them to ... ? who re-sell them to ... ?

I not sure we can trust those happy dealers who are finally selling the "new" cars that have been sitting in their showrooms for half a year. They're cutting the prices on cars that were OVER-PRICED, and bragging about great mileage on the highways -- "Wow... 24 miles...." which is NOT great.

Well ... who cares, price of gas is way down ... these days ...

Anyhow, I am not sure we should trust the car manufacturers who are helping the dealers who are helping you and me -- with helpers/advisors/emergency saviors, available 24/7, who are offering practically no interest, tiny down payments in a tiny paragraph at the bottom of the ad. It's a paragraph you can't really read but WOW the trade-in on your old car is free money and you'll have a new car that's all yours in ... 60 months ...

60 -- so five years from now you'll be whizzing down the country roadway in your chariot ... which ... MIGHT needs some uh ... repairs ...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


<----- This picture on the cover of my "Time" magazine gives me the willies ...

Two familiar faces; heads nestled together, one head whispering in the ear of the other. The two buddies ...

I haven't forgotten the past eight years of George W. How can I? Can you? We can't forget till a lot of stuff he messed up has been fixed.

I couldn't watch G.W. on television -- I changed the channel -- didn't want to hear him, or see that look on his face -- little boy showing Mommy and Daddy what a righteous, good son he is.

But we elected him, put him into the White House, even though the articulate, experienced Gore probably had more votes. And four years later, even though we knew Kerry would be a better manager for our country, we let G.W.'s pals, his father's pals, and swift boat ads, win G.W. his second term.

And Cheney ... I never liked him or trusted him. Did you? And now we wait to see if these two heads will be punished, in any way, for their infringements on our constitution, their promulgating spying, invasion of privacy, and water boarding torture.

... two heads on the cover of "Time" ... I can almost hear Cheney whispering, telling G.W. what to say, what not to say to the media.

George W's good deeds: "No Child Left Behind," cut taxes for every taxpayer, prescription drug benefits for seniors, implementing free trade, improved air quality, doubled support for veterans; his global HIV-AIDS initiative, getting Roberts and Alito into the supreme Court. And the war, our endless war in Iraq.

Cheney brags about how he helped shape Bush's war on terrorism, and the seven years we've had, with no further 911 attacks. And now, instead of whispering in G.W's ear, he's out there, in the news everyday -- attacking, undermining our president and everything the Congress is trying to do.

And undoubtedly, Cheney's guiding advising his daughter to do more, say more, keep promoting the Birthers claim that Obama isn't an American, that Obama is a racist -- silly, ridiculous stuff, filling the ears of needy, vulnerable Americans, and vacillating Democrats, and the floundering Republicans.

Those two heads on the cover -- what they've said, what they're saying now -- get them off my cover, out of the papers, off the TV! Publicity creates trends, copy cats and copy cat crimes, and more and more death disaster news ... enough, enough, enough already!

Monday, August 3, 2009


The previews for fall shows ... the new television series ... it's hard for me to look at them without putting on my casting agent's hat and --

Gritting my teeth ...
Disapproving ...
Making a "Ick" face, snarling "Ick" at the screen.

ICK for the wilder, more violent than ever murder-death-disasters on which the preview scene is usually based ... It's as if some half-grown, boy-kid producer put together the "SELL," splicing in every horrible scene he ever saw -- decapitations, beatings, bestial behavior, buzz saw mutilations, creating a wow- after-wow, sixty seconds that I vow NEVER TO SEE.

Of course the exciting preview includes "SELL" shots of the cast -- the usual interchangeable batch of great-looking unmemorable guys and girls who resemble last year's stars, and at least one black, who resembles Denzel W.or Halle B.

Hey, I don't mind if the leads are beautiful, or look like relatives of Whoopie/Lativah or Liz/Marilyn or Hannah Montana. It's the acting that gets me. (With two great-looking, super actors in my family, I've got well-honed critical abilities -- a highly-trained eye and a super- sensitive ear.)

The newbies all have the TV acting style: punctuated, telegraphic delivery of lines that sets the mood, cues us dummies in the audience on how to react. Most easily recognized is the pause before the laugh, pause that sets up and braces you for whatever happens next -- a double-take or a burp, a laugh or the wham-bam shock, and the gasp of fear. Like a ticker tape, you know what to feel -- what the actor feels is always announced a second before it happens.

Ick! Yuck! Blauuugh!

Casting agents send JC scripts for the new pilots -- mostly roles these days, for dying, fat grandfathers with Alzheimer's. JD, a leading man type, suffers at auditions for the leading man roles. Gets call-backs, but not the role -- JD doesn't do the TV acting style, except as a joke when his parents ask him how he's doing. He's "not quite the type," which means JD doesn't remind the producers of the type they kind-of -sort- of-maybe-had in mind, based on shows that got the highest Nielsen ratings last season.

Good wife says "yay" when JC says "no" to a bad role. Good Mom applauds JD in the Shakespeare leading roles he's been doing.

The new shows ... well, I tune 'em in hopefully, complain about the actors, mentally re-write plots, expurgating the crudities and violence. Moaning about the endless ads, I change the channel -- quite often find myself watching two shows at the same time.

Got to admit it-- good wife, good mom Em usually ends up watching an old movie.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Aside from looking at yourself, and checking to see if you look older today than you did yesterday, which is generally unproductive (you'll look older if that's what you want to see, younger if that's what you need to see), there is an important thing I can do. I like to do -- my family, my friends count on me to do.

Be a mirror. Listen. See what they want you to see, need you to see. See what they are saying, where they're going with their thoughts, and reflect it back to them.

My friend G has been talking about going on a diet again all year long -- probably the same diet that worked before (she's lost a hundred pounds, twice succeeded in losing the weight, and gained it all back).

Listening to G -- she's saying she wants to diet -- saying she's afraid to try again --saying she's too busy to start it now, but could start it after the holidays -- I hear something that she hasn't said before. She said, "For M."

What I heard is -- hurray, new motivation. This diet is not about wearing the pretty clothes she bought when she lost fifty pounds. "For M" is what she needs me to echo back to her.

I like being a mirror for our son, JD. Extra keen listening is involved. He knows what's on his mind, knows I listen carefully. He doesn't want Mom's advice. But he isn't sure what he wants to do -- write a one-man show -- work on his house (renovating) -- take a course in novel writing.

The three alternatives are what JD's considered doing last time he was unemployed. He's got "actoritis." I need to reflect back to him where he seems to be heading -- has he been reading a lot? Has seen a one-man show that he liked? Has he mentioned any leaks, any house problems?

In our dialogue, I'll pick up on whatever he's actually been doing, sing it back to him.

Mirroring for JC is easier to do. He does it for me -- listens, holds onto details about various projects, tactfully avoiding "do this, or do that." He's not a list maker. ( I am.) He and I mull over where he's at, where I'm at, in terms of restlessness and recreation.

Is it time for a trip, a visit with relatives? Is there something that was mentioned before -- not done for various reasons? Perhaps it needs to be considered again. JC won't be hurt, won't head in a wrong direction if I happen to emphasize a wrong project. I'm more suggestible -- if he sends me off in a wrong direction, I fuss at him. And fussing at him, realize the project he mentioned needs to be crossed off my list.

So what is mirroring? It's just a word. Pay attention to what your friends, your family have said, revealed, have chosen to do. Hold onto the details. Don't tell them what YOU feel they ought to do. Let them tell you.

"Do unto others ... "