Saturday, January 2, 2010


What a smooth, careful, precarious conversation Scarborough and Maher had in their Newsweek Q & A chit-chat, hitting at what was not going right with Obama, the Republicans, the Democrats, Health Care, and Afghanistan.

Reading in the current issue of the magazine, how they bounced off each other was fascinating -- extra fascinating as they threw in sour-candy tidbits -- about Bush and Cheney, Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs.

Joe S. and Bill M. are very different, and similar.

I enjoy Bill Maher -- his pleasant, purring, sincerely wanting-to-know questions, his clever comments (that let you know he's much cleverer than you). There's something about him that's dangerous, as if the man is out for blood, listening for weakness, ready to dive in and sting.

I've seen Bill Maher in his party mode in the days when I was able to watch him and always watched -- suspensefully waiting for his male-superior, slightly sneering, flirtatious, solicitous attitude toward various glamorous female guests.

Nowadays, he's still seductive. He makes me laugh. If anyone (guest or host) tries to avoid a clear yes or no -- pow -- his coup de grace is deadly accurate!

A very valuable man, Bill Maher --there's no one quite like him. (I'm sorry we don't have HBO.) I'm immediately interested when he's announced as a guest on someone's show. He usually tears off the clothes othe other guy (the good manners, the cover-ups of social intercourse), and makes it fun and nasty, like quickie sex -- when it's over, slam-bam thank you ma'am -- you're discarded.

Scarborough is another kind of male-superior seducer. "Morning Joe" -- it's a great title but I can't drink down what he says, as if it's hot, good, wake-up coffee.

I keep seeing, hearing, and feeling meanness in him. I dislike the "I'm the boss, I know better, " attitude he projects when talking with his co-host Mika Brzezinski. And her ignoring it, her way of shrugging it off is --well --it's sad and repulsive -- to see her primping, ignoring the insults as she checks herself in the monitor-mirror.

Aside from Joe Scarborough's political ideas, which seem to be sort of "Mitt Romney" Republican, he's become overbearing, and so cocksure of himself, that I can't watch him without muttering "You're wrong!" at his image on the television, and tuning in another channel.

The fact is, as soon as I have more time, I'll get HBO just so I can see Bill Maher's show on Fridays, 10 p.m. He's an independent thinker who quite often comes up with interesting, constructive ideas.

If Joe Scarborough keeps developing, unchecked, I can't watch him. I don't want to listen to a man who can't deal with women as "people." (Note, I didn't say "deal with women as equals.") His observations, his opinions, even his intelligent analysis of issues, pisses me off!

Friday, January 1, 2010


1. MAKE WORK DAY SHORTER ... 10 to 12 hours a day that I've been putting in on blogging -- it's too long! The moment the thought crosses my mind -- "I'm getting tired" -- stop! (Good resolution.)

2. EAT LESS SUGAR ... Eliminate what? No more peanut butter cups? But if I need energy before I do my barre exercise, I'll grab one (not two or three!)

3. SHAMPOO HAIR TWICE A WEEK. Unless the plumber can't install some sort of pump next week -- the only day the water doesn't stop unexpectedly is Sunday -- its awful, being stuck in the shower, no water, soap on my head.

4. AVOID THE MIRROR ... Unless I'm putting on makeup, or combing my hair (but raccoon eyes -- I better check if I'm wearing mascara -- raccoon eyes have to fixed.)

5.WRITE MY SISTER ... once a month? ... but that'll put pressure on her to write back, and she's too busy -- that's what she said in her last letter, so ... (not a good resolution.)

6. GO FOR A WALK ONCE A DAY ... If I have time, but I barely have time to take my daily barre -- maybe I'll wait till the weather's warmer.

Gee, these are not resolutions -- this is a tentative, iffy, perhaps, maybe, possibly doable list.

What about other stuff -- like cook dinner for JC more often ... order more paperbacks from, but I don't have time to cook, or read, right now ... anyway, JC enjoys cooking, and there's no place for extra books, unless I donate a pile of old ones -- when? Not now, unless I make my day shorter -- golly, if I have any extra time, I need to keep up with the news on television and in my magazines ... and decide what to write about that's current, important ...

What about making a resolution to find more things I ought to do that I can put on a resolution list?

Maybe the whole idea of making New Year's Resolutions is something I've outgrown. And the thing I do automatically at the end of each day is what I need to do -- tidy my desk, and sort of loosely plan what I probably ought to do tomorrow.


I hereby resolve to keep doing what I've been doing.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


What do we call this century we're in -- "The 21st Century," or "Century Twenty One?"

"That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet," says Juliet to her Romeo in Shakespeare's play. .

Can we get a sweeter, better name?

Australia had a contest, to name the 2010's. The most interesting name was the "Ten-ties," or "Teenies." I had to read it twice and say "teenies" aloud, kept thinking it was a typom till I realized it was the "ten-ees." That seems too complicated. Also, we'd have to look for another name in 2020. gave $2000 to the person who suggested the century be called the "One-ders." They thanked the person for his "bright-eyed optimism.

Other suggestions: The NY Times suggested the "OHS." In Britain a PR firm suggested "The Zeros." Others suggestions were the "The Aughts," "Double Ohhs," or the "2 Ks."


Since 21 is the age of consent, why not call this century the "Age of Consent?" Or the "Grown-up Century?"

What about the "Age of Hope," "Age of Solutions," "The Fix Up Time?"

The dictionary says a century is "a period of one hundred years." That's 365 days x 100. Wow -- 36, 500? Okay! Let's call it the thirty-six five-hundred days of restoration of earth's treasures!

That's where I'm at -- we're into it already!

Thirty-six five-hundred days
To repair the air,
Make fair the land,
Share and care years.

That's my prayer.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Nielsen Ratings tell us what's the biggest, best, most important, "must see, must buy" -- in movies, soap operas, plays, books, videos, podcasts, video games, music, sports -- as it creates the ratings and rankings for its advertisers, and markets.

And ratings influence us -- they teach us that what is popular is liked or admired by many -- and popular means that it's intended for, or suited to the taste of the general public, so we feel that what's popular is important, because it's the attitude held by many, many people, the people as a whole.

Before Nielsen, in 1930, there was Dan Starch, a Harvard Professor, who headed the Association of Advertising Agencies ( started in 1924), to measure advertising readership and radio viewers. Starch's associate, C. E. Hooper, in 1934, advanced how the measuring was done. Rather than general surveys, Hooper ratings were based on selected viewers, who listened to the radio at a given time.

A year later, George H. Gallup was employed by Gardner Cowles (publisher of newspapers and Look Magazine), to begin the Institute of Public Opinion, that became the Gallup Polls.

How do I know? I researched and wrote about rankings and ratings and how they affected my character Cordelia in silent films, talkies, radio and the early days of television -- it's in my virtual library on my Website -- "Somebody Book I, The Ropes in Radio."

Anyhow -- Nielsen ratings tell us that Michael Jackson's funeral had 31.4 million viewers. The more we remember him -- even his sharing his bed with young boys, his trial, his outrageous shopping trips, and him on a hotel balcony dangling his baby -- the more the weirdness of Michael Jackson fades. The tribute Madonna gave him in London, captures an essence of the man that's precious to millions, precious to me, too.

Death at an early age leaves us with an image of Michael Jackson, the artist -- still beautiful, magical, enchanting.

Death for Diana, Princess of Wales, left us and the world with an image of a young woman in her prime, an articulate, poetic, loving mother, an injured wife who tried to survive her husband's involvement with another woman, but couldn't.

Though she died in 1997, today she is still a heroine, an ideal, and a "real" Princess.

(For those who remember the fairy tale --"The Princess and the Pea" -- "real princess is different from an ordinary girl. When the half-dozen mattresses were piled high on top of one green pea, in the center of the bottom mattress, the ordinary girl slept like a lamb, but the real princess felt it, tossed and turned couldn't sleep a wink.)

The image of Princess Diana is her visiting HIV patients and sick children, embracing them regardless of what was wrong with them. And we remember her beauty, her taste in clothes, her fabulous wardrobe, her ups and downs emotionally, her weight problems -- issues with which most girls and young women can identify.

That 33.3 million people watched the funeral and burial, probably wins the prize, for the most watched funeral in history.

Former President Ronald Reagan's mid-day funeral drew 20.8 million people on June 11, 2004. A prime-time program on Reagan that same evening drew an estimated 35.07 million viewers (but it apparently falls into a documentary/tribute category).

Never to be forgotten are the deaths of JFK and RFK, and of course, the recent death of Ted Kennedy -- the death and funeral of Elvis Presley -- Grace Kelly's fabulous wedding and her funeral -- Diana's "Fairy Tale" wedding -- the funeral of Pope John Paul II -- and the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Millions, probably billions have watched these events over the course of the years.

But the number that means something to me -- January, 2009, Obama's inauguration was watched by 38 million, on many, many multiple networks.

Digging into the numbers, I found more and more numbers and networks showing and proving that President Barack Obama's inauguration likely will have been watched by more people and on more platforms than any other televised event in U.S. history -- including the Super Bowl.

Inauguration day, and election eve, the crowd in Grant Park in Chicago changed history, and profoundly changed the world I'm living in.

And golly, I have to say that those two days will be held onto, hugged and cherished by me, till I'm no longer around.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The quiet guys, behind the scenes -- in show biz, they're stagehands who work hard, often work longer hours, with no applause, lower salaries, and a lot more sweat, than the star actors on the stage.

(Golly, if I hadn't learned to be a stagehand, and painted flats, sewed costumes, focused follow spots, fresnels, and ellipsoidals -- setup amps, mikes, and loudspeakers -- I wouldn't have been able to earn a living, and tour the college concert circuit with my dance company.)

In the White House, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Eric Holder, Attorney General, and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, are the highly skilled, super-helper laborers, behind the scene.

I know their names, see flashes of them on TV, but what these guys are supposed to do -- the job description -- the definition and nature of the work -- I had to gather bit by bit from various Websites, news magazines, and newspapers. (www., N.Y.Times, Newsweek, Time, New Republic,

Bernanke's job is everything that's involved with the country's money supply. He studies and sets short-term interest rates that affect inflation, unemployment, the strength of the dollar, and what's in your wallet. He engineered those massive money rescues for the various failing companies -- hedge funds, foreign banks, investment banks, manufacturers, insurers and other borrowers -- he jump-started credit markets, created cash for clunkers, housing finance, mortgage bonds, and found and spent government money reshaping U.S. policy, in his effort to save the economy. "Bail-out Ben" is what White House insiders call him.

(I don't recall if I've ever seen Mr. Bernanke on TV, or heard him speak; when I saw his picture on the cover of "Time," even with his name under it, I didn't realize what a kingpin he is.)

Eric Holder, our Attorney General, is the government's chief lawyer who serves as a member of the President's Cabinet, but is the only cabinet department head who is not given the title "Secretary." His concerns have been the investigation of banks with ties to Iran -- U.S. based, and international terrorist plots -- the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay -- the investigation of the enhanced interrogation techniques (like water-boarding), and the NSA, the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program that has included spying on private citizens. Also, Holder is handling the arranging of the trials (after eight years of delay), for suspected terrorists in federal courts, including the alleged architect of the USS Cole bombing, before a revived, military commission.

(I've seen Mr. Holder once or twice on TV, and wondered -- is he camera shy, or is he always silent, and taciturn, sort of unfriendly? He is definitely a low-profile, very, "Very Important Person.")

Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, presides over the sessions and keeps order. As the leader of the majority party, through the House Parliamentarian, she refers all bills to committees and also appoints the chairs of the committees, and is able to limit debate, and amendments. A combination of administrative, legislative, protocol, and political duties makes the Speaker (in the words of Thomas B. Reed, Speaker of the House 1889-91), “the embodiment of the House, its power and dignity.”

Throughout this year, Nancy Pelosi has used that power, and the Democratic majority, to pass every item on Obama's agenda -- health care, energy, regulatory reform, education, pay equity. While most of the media attention has been on the intrigue and machinations of the Senate, where bills get snarled in procedure and the 60-vote hurdle to overcome filibusters, "The amount of things the House has done this year has been mind-boggling," says White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer.

My impression of Mrs. Pelosi -- (even though she stays in the background, she's constantly being blamed, and criticized) -- is that she is unfazed. I admire her grace and poise, and I love the way she sticks to her guns.

Behind the scene, Bernanke, Holder, and Pelosi have kept the Obama agenda, "his show, on the boards" (as we say in show biz) -- like the "grips," the stagehands who build, maintain, paint, decorate, assemble, and dismantle the set, the flats, the furniture -- like the "flyers" who bring scenery down from the "flies" (the storage area above the stage), -- like the "props" people in the wings, who provide a pair of glasses, dishes, cigarettes (small things that the actors use).

Together, this backstage "crew," along with the Pentagon and the other members of the President's Cabinet, make sure the "show" works the way they, and the boss, want it to work.

Obama's plans are HUGE -- involving changes, fixes, rebuilding, solving many issues that endanger us as a country, as well as individuals.

Hey, maybe he's going to be able to pull a smash "hit" series out of his hat -- that'll run every day, every night, for a long time!

There's no biz like show biz -- there's no world leader on the world stage like Obama. I'm glad he's got Ben, Eric and Nancy to help him.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Seven-fifteen a.m. on Friday, Christmas Eve Day, we poured the coffee. We were sleepy -- we'd been shooting one of my blogs for our A.I.R videocasting project till two a.m. (We're planning to podcast the videos once a week, as of mid January.)

Before retiring, we noticed that the refrigerator wasn't cold enough. Uh-oh! We turned up the dials.

Sipping coffee, that a disaster might be looming over the holiday weekend was still on our minds. We avoided the topic, didn't check the fridge, and exchanged a few words about last night's shoot -- should we, or shouldn't we do another "take?"

As I put the toast on a plate, I said, "John, aren't they're voting this morning?"

He turned on the television set.

There they were -- the smiling-weary Senators congratulating each other, the smiling-weary commentators up-dating us -- sixty Democrats, thirty-nine Republicans. SIXTY WINS!

If you haven't seen it too many times, have a look.

After the house bill and the senate bill are reconciled, we'll be done whether we should we have Health Care reform? We'll have it.

"Yay!" I hooted. We watched for a while, and heard comments from faces and names that have become familiar.

What does it mean?

It will be many days, lots of comments, attacks on Obama and the Democrats, from the Democrats who want more, who want concessions, improvements, who want to be re-elected.
And comments and attacks -- the kind we've been hearing from Republicans who have negated everything that Obama's done, and has tried to do throughout the year.

Is this wrangling, attacking, blaming, dissecting a healthy thing -- a good thing that's part of what Democracy is today -- the news conveying all the opposition messages, ads -- some expressing real issues -- others using Swift-Boating Truth tactics to prove that Health Care is harmful, dangerously wrong?

I don't know. But I don't like it.

I'm closing my eyes , still celebrating, because progress was made on December 24th, but I'm tightening my belt, bracing myself to rah-rah, cheer on the team.

We're not done yet -- hold that line, guys -- fight team fight.

Hey Hey - you get out of our way.
Today is the day --
We put you away!
You might be good at basketball,
You might be good at track
But when it comes to health care --
You might as well step back.
Might as well step back!
Say what?
Thirty-Niners might as well step back!
Can't hear us?
Might as well step back!
Go SIXTY go!

(P.S. We gave the refrigerator 24 hours to adjust and it seems to be holding its own.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Our number one obsession is violence, according to Newsweek's study of bestsellers, block- buster movies, and most watched TV shows. Number two is money. Sex is in third place. Then, youth, vampires, politics and God.

I don't agree.

I think sex is number one, and number two is scandal. Here's my list of the best, worst, annoying, overly publicized, stuff and nonsense that -- whew -- riveted me, bugged me during the year.

I enjoyed Governor Sanford's babble about his affair with the Argentinean lady -- his moral dilemma was amusing because he seemed to be a fool -- though in between the revelations, I wondered, still wonder why in the world did North Carolinians elect this guy? (See my post "Striptease," 11/14.)

Letterman confessing that he slept with some of his employees -- I found myself watching the show for a few nights after that, till the "Top Ten," and his repartee with bandleader, Paul Shaffer, started boring me again. (It's probably why I rarely watch Letterman.)

Octomom -- she makes me sigh, close off all sympathy -- she seems like a selfish, wrong-thinking woman that the media has created.

Balloon boy -- his dad and mom -- like Octomom, I feel their selfish, wrong-thinking has been created by us, as the offspring of the media. (See my post "Balloon Boy," 10/28.)

Yes, I've been moaning and groaning about the media brainwashing us -- with repetition, sometimes for days, I hate the way the media blows up a small story into a big deal crisis!

That mystery about the pilots who didn't land the plane has never been explained. (See my post "Two Guys in the Cockpit," 10/29.) I can't help thinking the two men were busy doing something sexual.

Tiger -- people are still celebrating his disaster, and I still find the celebrants, who are eating-up this scandal -- pitiable , and wrong. (See my post "Tiger" 12/9, and "Stop Crucifying Tiger Woods," 12/17.)

Susan Boyle wowed me. (See my post "Event of the day," 4/14.) But the over-exposure of her talent diminishes her -- makes her more like an older, lumpy woman who needs a lot of fixing up before we can accept her wonderful voice for what it is. Also, the too-too beautiful Miss California -- that she's one of those sprayed, pouffed-up, overly-beautified beauties, makes her political opinions (whether you agree or not), hard-to take.

The White House gate crashers -- I'm looking forward to hearing that they never did get the shows and contracts, they were hoping for. (Though my looking forward to that puts me right smack-dab into being just another media-created dumb-bunny.)

Palin's woes with her daughter's lover, her grandson's dad -- I've got to admit I enjoy it, and hope she's suffering a little. (See my post "Sarah Palin Worries Me," 11/21.)

Serena William's outburst and the unreasonable fine pleased me. I don't trust the Williams sisters when they're nice. I think a lot of what they do is out of a passion to win in every way a woman can -- be in movies, create fashion, be bigger, better, stronger than everyone, including men.

Kate and Jon Gosselin -- a media created pair -- whatever they were -- they never interested me, and I won't miss them. Or the commentator, Lou Dobbs. I stopped watching him during the presidential campaign -- didn't trust him, found him promoting his own personal politics. I'm glad Dobbs stepped down from CNN..

Mel and Robyn Gibson ... well ... What he's been in the movies stays with me, beyond the religious and political and moralistic opinions he's expressed -- the look of him in many movies, his acting -- though I can't erase the "oh dear, what's he saying/doing now" stuff he's been doing, when I re-watched "Air America" the other day, I loved him in it. And I loved him in "The Year of Living Dangerously."

Sexting, texting -- younger generation fads -- they bother me, they seem ridiculous and that makes me older, not wiser, so ... no further comment.

And VAMPIRES ... the whole category of art, history, movies, literature... ugh -- I've felt ugh since the early nineties when the vampire books started getting big money, big contracts from publishers while I was getting turned down.

Okay -- this is the time for privately and publicly summing up the year, so I'm doing both -- feeling again what crossed my mind during some of the headlines of the past three-hundred-and-sixty-one days -- before I take on day one of the next three-hundred-sixty-five.