Saturday, November 14, 2009


It's a burlesque act in which a performer removes her/his clothes, piece by piece.

Andre Agassi, a tennis hero whom I've admired for years (for the way he plays, the way he looks, his wildness, marriages, and things he's blurted out) -- takes off his clothes in his autobiography, "Open," and reveals sad, unpleasant things about himself and what he achieved.

He tells us he can't live with his lies, untruths, the misconceptions about himself as a hero -- implies that the only way he can enjoy his life and what he's achieved -- is by stripping away the lies.

At first, I thought, "He's doing it to sell books, gain notoriety, and attention for himself and his projects. Then, I found myself wondering if he's trying to grow up all over again (play it again), and win -- be a hero without his daddy's dreams, his daddy's energy turning him into a winning tennis machine.

Hmm ... This guy is a grownup, and wise -- he knows what it means to be in the center court, with thousands of eyes watching his every move, judging everything he says and does. Andre Agassi was the number-one best tennis player in the world.

Well, he shopped the book in 2007, so it's been brewing for a long time -- this desire to tell the truth and put an end to the lies.

But gee ... lies have roots -- roots don't get destroyed -- even if they're dug up, they generally just spread. A naked Agassi is out there, revealed.

Hey -- what about his family -- his kids, Jared Gil (lovingly named after Agassi''s trainer, best friend, Gil Reyes), and daughter Jaz El -- how's the truthful version of Andre's life going to affect them, and his wife, Stephanie Graf?

(It's a little like the unfaithful husband, who tells his wife about some passionate love affair, after it's over. His conscience is eased -- it's over and done with for him, but not for her. Will she ever be able to trust him again? How can she forget how well he deceived, put on a act, and brilliantly lied, about that other woman?) Oh sure, time will pass, and we'll hear more about the great things Agassi's doing with his projects for young people, his foundations and schools, but the hero -- the great things we remember are ... well ... kind of messed up, out of focus now.

It brings to mind Elizabeth Edwards' book, "Resilience" -- our view of John and Elizabeth during the campaigns. He's out there, naked -- selfish, cruelly disloyal, sex life exposed, side-by-side with the altruistic, interesting, charitable ideas he sold us on.

Well, Elizabeth needed to express what she expressed, but they're both out there now ...

Hmm ... They may put on a devoted couple act again, but we won't believe it -- the "Loving Couple" was a lie.

What about Jenny Sanford , the wife of Governor Sanford, who droned on and on and ON about his love affair with an Argentinean lady? Jenny doesn't sound as if she's going to write a book, but publishers are seductive. With the help of a ghost writer, lots of money, and lots of sexual specifics , lots of money can be made.

Can Governor Sanford be more naked than he already is?

Hmm ... Maybe he'll resign and the Lt. Governor (whom sanctimonious Sanford loudly claims is gay) will run things, sanctimoniously affirming his masculinity. .

Madoff's mistress, Sheryl Weinstein, took off her clothes and Madoff's clothes, and her book is selling its way into bestseller-dom.

Hey, that could mean a movie ... though ... gee, would Redford want to play the part of a small man, with a small penis, who had a tepid affair with 16 years ago? Maybe Dustin Hoffman?

Hmm ... I don't think there's going to be a movie sale of "Bernie Madoff's Other Secret, Money, Bernie and Me."

Maybe Ruth Madoff will do her strip routine, and tell her story -- lawsuits are pending -- she wants to keep her two-storey penthouse -- she's lonely, alone. Everyone's dying to hear more ugly stuff about Bernie, and more-more about him suffering -- maybe another prisoner, a burly brute will beat him up! And prison sex?

I can't see Madoff being the honey-bun of some other guy ... but ... who knows?

Maybe the sons, Andrew or Mark, or niece Shana, or brother Peter, or former accountant Friehling will strip away their inhibitions? Or one of the six lawyers? Or the widow of Madoff's dearest business pal, who died in his Palm beach swimming pool -- maybe she'll take his clothes off?

I hope not.

I am sorry Agassi had to write his book.

I wish Elizabeth Edwards hadn't done hers.

It' ain't good, all this strip teasing ...

I've done it. In my dancing days, I wore naked-looking body suits, even one with yarn strategically placed that suggested private hair. NO, I wasn't really naked, but wearing those body suits ... it wasn't fun -- I covered myself with a robe whenever I was off stage.

Of course I know that these days, dancers, singers, painters, writers, plain ordinary people are showing, telling exposing themselves more and more -- you have to, I guess – the world's more crowded, more people are competing for that 15 minutes of fame.

Okay -- maybe you'll read those books, but I won't. As I get older, I'm getting more prudish. And prudent -- selective about how I spend time. Stripteasers, doing their thing, are mostly, about ninety-percent ho-hum, BORING.

Friday, November 13, 2009


<----- portrait of Em working at her OLD FAITHFUL computer. confident -- reminiscing -- neatly organized.

With the help of a un-peppy, not altogether knowledgeable techie, I made a home network on my new computer. I had to name it. It's called NEWBIE. The Dell I've been using for five years is called OLD-FAITHFUL.

(If I'd had time to think I might have given them more interesting names but the hard-to-understand Indian techie had me talking in pidgin English.)

Why did I get NEWBIE? Because my Word Perfect word-processing installation on OLD-FAITHfUL can't be fixed, refuses to be fixed -- it's been fixed too any times. Spell check isn't working! My Oxford Dictionary's rebelling -- it won't give me definitions on advanced words.

Do I really think my computer has human characteristics? No. But I hover over it, keep it tuned and shiny clean like a super housekeeper and -- and dammit -- OLD FAITHFUL runs perfectly except for Word Perfect!!! The techies say my XP operating system needs to be re-installed -- aiii yiii – that means re-installing everything!

So I'll hobble long -- transfer stuff onto NEWBIE in my spare time -- meanwhile, spell check, look up big words on NEWBIE's Oxford.

I've got a feeling NEWBIE is Em the "newbie commentator!" See my post 'If it Aint Broke" 10/14. I've been blogging about people and things in the news since November 1 (with Em, the ex-dancer who's deep into dancing and novel writing and showbiz, lurking in the background).

NEWBIE "The Commentator," hasn't been in the "real" world of people traveling to work, working for a boss, or running a house for my family. All my life I've been an "independent contractor." According the IRS (the tax guys) that's what you are, if no boss controls what the worker does, or how and when he does the job.

(Anyhow, I'm not earning money -- just spending it on computers and techies, but wow -- I'm writing up a storm! )

Well ... I'm wearing one of my purple shirts. My hair's a mess. I'm not sure where I'm my next post is heading, but w-h-e-e-e-e-e- I'm giving it a try!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Sad-eyed pooches, whales, polar bears ... on which, on what do I focus?

I had three 29-gallon fish tanks when our son was growing up. What a beautiful sight it was -- the pale lavender "grow" light -- the red, the blue, the gold, silver, brown striped, freckled creatures living, waiting for their food. Our son stood on a small ladder, and fed them once a day.

But sometimes -- more than sometimes -- too often, they died. And then, the scooping up of a tiny creature, flushing him/her/it away -- that's a sadness for which there's no solution -- sadness over something living, no longer alive -- at least it helped us teach our son the facts of life.

We had a dog named "Teechie" (as in 'teach"), a cat named "Helpy" and a large, white pigeon named " Little Soup." They helped. Pets teach you other facts-of-life things.

The cat tore at our burlapped walls. We found a new owner for Helpy. When our male pigeon laid an egg, we were shocked and thrilled. We let Little Soup fly around the house once a day, even though pigeon poop was a bit of problem. A friend, emigrating back to Porto Rico, was delighted to inherit Little Soup. When we moved to Malibu, a neighbor, who had "Daisy," a dachshund, was thrilled when Teechie became Daisy's live-in playmate.

Sad-eyed puppies waiting, needing a human to care for them -- that touches me, but I turn away. Reflexively, I find myself thinking of the sad-eyed children. The ads tell you that one dollar a day (or some amount that's feasibly small) will sustain a child, and probably, maybe, perhaps his/her family as well. The ads work on me, but I don't enroll.

I read today (before I sat down to write this) that there are more than a third of the 47,000 animal and plant species on the list that the International Union for Conservation of Nature tracks, in order to help governments identify species in need of protection.

15,700 species to be protected?

Stop-stop – I tell myself. My mind jumps to Al Gore -- his climate, environment things -- stop-stop – too many things in every direction -- my energies have to focus on my own domain and people who need me -- my hands, my money, my mind on their needs.

I can't take on a child. But if I could, that would be number one on my list.

What started this choo-choo train of thought -- Dolphins -- look at them.

These amazing, large, mammals, who are endowed with an intelligence, an ability to "talk" with us -- they're being murdered, killed, hammered to death by men who make their living from selling live dolphins -- they kill the ones that aren't sold -- why? Because they can't afford to feed, and maintain dolphins whom the trainers and other markets don't want.

Stop-stop – I can't stand killing creatures -- large or small or even tiny -- stop! stop! What about the mice who invade our kitchen. Or roaches. Or termites? Where do I draw the line?

Do I kill -- do I help?

... two four letter words, miles of thoughts apart ...

I've got to keep termites out of the wood that holds up our house, and rid our house of roaches and mice -- for my survival I've got to kill them. So, for my survival, what do I choose, or want, or need to help?

My dilemma is ... well ... its Fran's, Sue's, JD's, Shareen's, Beth's ... once I start putting down names I can't stop – it's names of practically everyone know. (Fran gets top billing, she has so many living things that she nurtures. And Beth won't kill mice. no matter where they are.)

Okay, I think we have to try to help Dolphins get back to the waters where they'll take care of themselves. And homeless dogs -- every time I'm on the street I see dogs as the children of the people who have them on their leashes -- dog lovers, who care for them and give and get love from them.

And cats -- they're loved, and needed by the guys that have them.

Okay! So go ahead -- enjoy, but don't mourn the fish.

Polar bears, whales ? The other 15,700 or so living things? I guess you have to stay close to your home, and your own life, and what you can handle. And say "stop-stop" like I do, when I can't find a consistent formula for everything.

Except children. Help the children. They're the life that goes on after we're gone – help them anyway you can manage it -- hands on, money, or thoughts that help other helpers -- HELP A CHILD.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


How is she doing? What is she feeling?

I see her in her pantsuit outfits, mostly with a serious expression on her face. Not the red pantsuit, or. the pink, yellow and orange one -- though she still wears heels -- never glamor girl HIGH high-heels, just practical one or two inch heels that flatteringly lengthen the leg.

But I haven't seen the energy, the smile, the sense of humor that continually affirmed our loving, supporting, admiration of her.

Okay, it's a different job. Running for president, she opened up and showed us, from time to time, the woman, the politician, the wife who didn't let her husband's playing around destroy her or her feelings for him. That's a number one WOW!

This job, her current one, requires a calm, objective demeanor -- a quiet confidence that conveys objectivity -- suggests an older, wiser woman, who represents the country, the new president who has let it be known that he wants a talking relationship with the nations -- a diplomacy-first philosophy -- strategic patience, not threats, but subtler expressions of U.S. power.

The image of her as Obama's rival -- it was surprising, at first, to find myself rooting for her, then him then her. then him ... the way they debated, teased, attacked, and criticized each other as equals was -- well -- let's put it this way -- I wasn't watching movies, I was watching the news every night.

Anyhow, the image of Barack and Hillary as contenders is gone. The new look on her face is Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton handling the job.

She cut her hair; it's almost, not quite a new hairdo that says "younger." It's got the straggly, shorn, slightly messy look that's in vogue. It's not quite right yet, but her hair will grow, and she'll figure out how to manage it better. I'm sure she changed it deliberately -- she doesn't want to look like she did last year, as a candidate.

Yes, she seems wearier, sadder, alone. And she is. Bill is here and there, making speeches, raising money with Bush Sr., trying to solve some of the world's heath problems. Hillary, more often than not, is on the other side of the world.

We haven't seen them together, not the way they were during her campaign -- Bill praising her, supporting her, hugging her, proud of her -- her looking up at him with a young wife's smiling eyes

Am I making a romance out of the loving, devoted couple behavior that the Clintons have rehearsed, played, and presented to us for years and years?

Maybe. But I know the play -- the script, the poses, the lovey-dovey, "we are together" look is based on real feeling of what they were and what they are now.

I think she's having a hard time, learning what works best for her, in so many different countries and cultures. "Meet the Press" in July said, "She's logged over 100,000 miles. Being a traveler, I made list of where she's been, feeling the travel cramps and aches in my own bones.

(Pakistan, Australia, the Congo, Jerusalem, Palestine, Mexico, Toronto, Norway, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Australia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Singapore -- involved with international agencies, embassies, ambassadors, special envoys, security, climate change, environment, financial markets, numerous humanitarian causes.)

Time Magazine's Joe Klein, in his cover story on Hillary said, "The job of Secretary of State is more thankless than glamorous..." And then Klein reminds us: "This is Hillary Clinton we're talking about — the second most popular American in the world, an eternally compelling and supremely talented character, the subject of constant speculation, a walking headline. Her very presence in the job makes it crucial once more."

That's what I'm counting on; we're counting on.

She grew in stature, during the campaign, her humor, her ever clearer, incisive, down-to-earth expression of her ideas. As Obama takes hold of the wars, as well as the home front issues that worry us all -- yay Hillary -- she's uniquely ready and able to do what has to be done, and help him.

My fingers are crossed for the team!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Time Magazine reports that sports doctors are questioning the palm-to-palm tradition. They feel any shaking of hands is increasing the risk of getting the swine flu.

I'm not a sports fan. JC is. So I watch sometimes to gain "wife points"-- conversing about things that interest him, celebrating with him when his team wins.

Players in professional leagues, as well as high schools have contracted the virus. Medical advisors are suggesting fist-bumping, or just nodding at your opponent, saying "nice game."

Nice idea but I'm not sure verbal utterances will work -- in their dugouts, their locker rooms, they, sweat, cough, and on the field they do a lot of nose to nose, inhaling, exhaling -- serious heavy breathing. And spitting -- spitting and chewing -- a bulging cheek seems to be a baseball tradition.

The Time article notes that NBA players are washing their hands more often and sharing fewer towels. Maybe because wives and girlfriends are nagging -- and maybe, just maybe, a new tradition has been born.)

Summer of 2008, in St. Paul, Minnesota, before Obama went on to accept the nomination, Michelle Obama daintily knocked knuckles with her husband.

Eye-brows were raised. It's a hand gesture that's associated with beer commercials, and the seventies "Superhero" cartoon (I didn't read comics back then, so I looked it up) -- the "Superfriends" touched knuckles and cried, "Wonder Twin Powers, activate!" before they morphed into animals or ice sculptures.

I also learned that in 1970, NBA players on the Baltimore Bullets occasionally bumped fists. And Michael Jordan fist-bumped sometimes in the 90's. But it wasn't really noted till the television show, Deal or No Deal, started in 2005. The host, Howie Mandel (a "germophobic," he admitted during a show), adopted the gesture as a friendly way to avoid his contestants' germs.

Anyway, MILLIONS of people saw the Obamas bumping knuckles. The Washington Post called it "the fist bump heard 'round the world."

The words used to describe fist-bumping are varied -- the New York Times described it as a "closed-fisted high-five." Others called it "the fist bump of hope." the power five," "fist pound," "knuckle bump," "Quarter Pounder" and "dap."

So is it IN? (I can't picture myself first-bumping anyone.)

I never high-fived anyone, even back in the fifties when low and high-fives were used by athletes for celebrating teamwork and triumph. (See my 9/11 post, "Hi Fives.")

I do remember in the nineties, when we were seeing headlines about Magic Johnson and AIDS -- how ultra cautious everyone got about injuries, and their gay friends. No one shook hands; show biz folks did air kisses -- no mouth kisses, no hugging.

Well, nowadays, among Generation X parents and their kids, there's a cellphone salute -- you can high-five on your cell phone (slap the speakers), or you and the caller can simultaneously type "5."

Hmm ...

Maybe we need to invent a code to symbolize the bump -- @@@'s? Or maybe a click of the tongue? Some sort of boop-boop-be-doop sound might do it.

I like what Obama said about the fist bump -- "It captures what I love about my wife," he explained to NBC's Brian Williams. "That for all the hoopla, I'm her husband, and sometimes we'll do silly things."

Ah ha -- "Silly thing" plan formulating: Since our National High-Five Day is the third Thursday in April every year, maybe we should make Thanksgiving the day on the calendar for making the fist bump, official.

Monday, November 9, 2009


What will our president do about the war, what can he do? What can I do but shrivel when the feeling of being helpless, vulnerable is so strong?

I remember when the atomic age fears took over. Would someone drop a bomb on us like we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The idea that someone, somewhere in the world, could accidentally or purposefully push a button and destroy civilization was new -- and powerful, and terrifying. It affected the way I thought -- we thought -- about the future. And then came September 11, 2001 ...

I'm a very grown up grown-up -- one small person, in a home, on a street, in a civilized community, where the things I need for survival are readily available. And I can't deal with thoughts of my world being destroyed in a war.

I back off, I have to, in order to do my daily things. I know that the neighborhood children, pre-teens, teens and young adults , have space in their minds, a place where their fears reside. Fears like mine, but more intense -- when they think of "What am I going to be when I'm grown up?" or "What will I be doing next year?"

Our wars have stolen the sense of future -- soldiers, families torn apart, young men and women giving up their lives -- while I'm sort of safe, but feel not safe with the visions of war, sounds of war, statistics made real, when, occasionally, I'm pulled into the fray by what I see on television.

How do the children handle this? With violence, excess appetites for pleasure, and pain? Is that why kids are hurling themselves into "now" and pretending death from the wars doesn't exist for them?

I want the President to end the War in Afghanistan. And negotiate, and communicate, talk talk talk -- make pacts, alliances, treaties, bargains, sanctions, embargos, and effect, distract, talk talk talk with all the countries, the leaders, that are threatening life on this planet. Stop the war. Lose the war. End the war.

Even though the enemy will win (call them Al-Qaeda or Taliban, or any other name) ... lose the war, end the war.

My words float out of me, one small person, frightened, desperately concerned about the future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I wondered about Reggie Jackson, when we were watching the World Series. We saw Reggie briefly during the final game that the Yankees won.

After a fantastic career, he lives in the idyllically beautiful city of Carmel in California -- he's in baseball's Hall of Fame, and continues to be a special advisor to the Yankees. Yep, he's older, but he's still a big name -- Reggie's doing okay. And that made me wonder ...

What about Adam Lambert? He's an astoundingly talented, good-looking 27-year-old singer-dancer, who almost became, probably should have become, the American Idol of 2009.

I'm not a baseball fan, or a pop music fan -- but, having been a performer, married to a well- known actor, (and we have an actor son), it's natural for me to wonder how Adam Lambert's doing these days?

Even when Adam lost, he was gracious. And why not? Because of his performances on Idol, he already had a record contract, and agents, managers waiting to handle him.

Have a look -- I can't help wondering what will happen to the marvelous confidence, the full-out energy of a socko performer like Adam Lambert?

Throughout the Idol shows leading up to the finale, Adam's singing soared, hit the top of the tip-top of the power meter -- there wasn't one, but that's what his bearing, his dancing, his final note at the end of his number, felt like to me. BUT ...

He seemed to go beyond performing, into a personal display of himself sexually. His smile, his half-closed eyes, the feeling he projected was huge -- and too much.

I've listened to him and watched him, and looked at other clips on YouTube. His voice, his vocal rendition of each song, his dance movements were far better than any other performer I've seen on any Idol show. But when Adam is singing and gyrating, he seems to be enjoying himself in a sexual personal trance.

(I couldn't help thinking -- he's like a stripper, a guy selling himself to customers for sex. And the makeup he was wearing -- was it eye liner, eye shadow, plus mascara? And his tight pants, all that jewelry -- is he gay?")

It doesn't matter. He was stunning. He got huge ovations, and generated enormous excitement every time he sang. Maybe the producers, the judges, or the director got confused by the audiences adulation and didn't want to interfere with his performances. But I think Adam Lambert would have won if some had told him "You're working too hard. Less is more."

Shortly after that final show, Lambert confirmed that he was homosexual in a Rolling Stone cover story interview.

Right now Adam Lambert's working -- he's on an Idol tour. He's got an album coming out. He obviously has a manager, promoter, and press agent. Will we hear more, and see more and more of this guy?

Probably yes; maybe for a while. . But I think the event that's launched him will send him in a wrong direction. His openness about his homosexuality, combined with the "too much, too intense " feeling you get as he's singing, will send him ... Where?

Porn? A sexy role in a film? Maybe, but probably not the leading man "love interest." And then, maybe other offers will take him into producing, agenting, or performing in night clubs for a few years? Maybe he'll buy a club, and be the star, performing in his own cabaret?

What would I advise the talented Adam Lambert to do?

A few years ago, when I was rehearsing an up-and-coming dance group, teaching six of their dancers my "Haunted Moments" choreography, I didn't hire "Marge" who was dancing with them.

Her feelings were hurt. She asked me why, so I told her. (Marge was chunky, stocky-looking -- there was nothing exciting or compelling to watch when she was dancing.) I said, "It's your weight. You're not fat -- your weight is natural and right for your body." Knowing that she played the guitar, I added, "You might be successful as a folk singer, but not as a dancer."

Whew -- she hates me -- hated me for years and maybe even now, Marge refers to me as the person who "ruined her life."

Would I tell Adam Lambert to quit?

I'd say "Change your look -- your clothes, your makeup, for a while. And try doing LESS -- go for simplicity. Your voice and handsomeness needs no embellishments. Find a night club -- perform there and build a fan base like Bette Midler did. Don't let yourself be labeled as a gay or straight performer! You're unique -- be what you are!"

In my dancing days -- when I was straining my feet and turnout in an effort to look like a ballerina -- oh my, I wish someone had told me that.