Saturday, June 19, 2010


Manhattan, where we live, is an island that is NOT disappearing -- it's crowded, and crowding in around us more than ever -- the city budget is hugely over- extended and much needed services are getting cut ...

And the giant island -- our hemisphere, surrounded by water -- whew, wow -- we're not safe, the world is crowded, crowding in around us -- money worries, the costs of fixing so many things that are going wrong, plus the oil spill. Every day the number of gallons is larger. This morning I thought the reporter said "A million gallons." I asked JC "What did he say?" JC thought he'd heard the same thing.

Here we are, three weeks before the oil spill began, discussing a tiny island, not sure why its disappearance makes us feel unsafe, fearful.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Gee, Golly!
Is beauty, or isn't beauty a blessing? A necessity? A goal? A time-consuming, costly, full-time job? A part-time job? YES ...

Beauty is more important than, better than luck...? YES ...

Based on my life, luck happens more frequently if you're beautiful -- doors open -- in your career, your love life, there are more possibilities, more opportunities and a better chance for success in whatever you're pursuing.

You look better, you're prettier at age 16 than you are at age 30. So looking young is an advantage. Go for it! Aside from learning how to use makeup, you need to learn what to wear, and have a good assortment of youthful, flattering clothes.

I am not selling this idea. I think it's a fact of life. If you're a girl you learn most of this early -- around age 3 or 4. By age 6 you're on your way to being an expert. You've heard the story of "Snow White." You say, "Mirror mirror on the wall..." and you know that YOU are the most beautiful of all.

Deborah Rhode, Professor of Law at Stanford, author of 20 books, has written a new book: "The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law.” It's a survey of "appearance" laws and how these laws creates gender prejudice.

Professor Rhode says: “‘It hurts to be beautiful’ is how my mother always explained girdles and high heels and a host of other burdens that have grown over time, but I’ve also learned how much it hurts not to be beautiful ... The impact is much more insidious than a lot of us suppose."

Rhode explains: "The cost of beauty -- in time, money, also in physical and psychological health -- is close to $200 billion." and adds, "Many individuals experience stigma, discrimination, and have eating disorders, depression, and risky dieting and cosmetic procedures." And later, she reminds the reader that all this is compounded by a virtually unregulated beauty and diet industry and soaring rates of elective cosmetic surgery.

Rhode details how unattractive individuals are less likely to be hired and promoted, are assumed less likely to have desirable traits, such as goodness, kindness, and honesty. And she has statistics -- three-quarters of all the women in her survey consider appearance important to their self image, and one-third rank it as the most important factor.

Stating, then proving with examples that discrimination against unattractive women and short men is as widespread as bias based on race, sex, age, ethnicity, religion, and disability, Professor Rhode lays out the case for an America in which appearance discrimination is no longer allowed.

I am shaking my head yes, and moaning silently -- please, please don't promote more legislation, more laws, more governmental supervision -- not now, Professor.

There are urgent laws on the docket in Congress that we need, all of us need right away in order to survive. And let's not forget the laws that affect women, laws that been passed, are still being argued, attacked, and negated. (Mammograms, contraception, sex education, abortion are still hanging on the clothesline -- solved but constantly under siege! And don't forget it took almost 70 years for suffrage to become the law of the land.)

I've written about the pursuit of beauty. Beauty has been a major theme for me in my five novels. And my 3-year-old self is still a voice, a pull, a confusion, a misdirecting force for Em the blogger.. I handle it and a hundred little things that tell me I'm growing old by avoiding the mirror and quoting Aristotle, reminding myself women down through the ages feel what I feel.

He said, 2400 years ago : "Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of Introduction."

And then, I head for my computer, chanting -- beauty is as beauty does ... beauty is as beauty does.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I remember the day Bill Clinton hugged her, after the press conference. She always sat in the front row. I thought, gee, she's kind of witch-like, decrepit looking. Bill's a nice guy, hugging her like that ...

What happened to Helen Thomas? She has knowledge, experience, and know-how as a commentator and reporter. Was what she said about the Jews -- they ought to go back to where they came from and leave the Palestinians alone -- a horrific mistake?

What she muttered can maybe be ... well ... sort of explained away. Wasn't she expressing what I feel? I'm deeply concerned with what Israel is doing to families who have spent their lives living in Gaza.

I've been to Israel. Actually I met Ben Gurion and dined with him. It was the only country that I ever felt that it was OK for me to be a Jew, not religiously, but because of my father's heritage (which he totally rejected).

Performing for the Habimah (the famed company of Israeli actors) who loved me as if I were one of them, dancing in various Kibutzes (collective farms), what I felt, about being a Jew in a Jewish homeland, was a revelation. I was revered as an artist, beloved for who and what I am.

(In America, my value as an artist was measured but how much I was paid per performance; growing up in Illinois, and Pennsylvania, schoolmates attacked me, yelling "You killed Christ," and called me a dirty Jew.)

So Helen Thomas saying that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine" and that Jews in Israeli should return to Germany, Poland, or the US. was a shock. It wasn't just an ugly comment about Israel. It was about Jews.

Thomas is 89. She's educated, and knowledgeable. What she said is reprehensible. She knew it. She immediately retired from her job and said, "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

She's nearing the end of her life. Her face is very unattractive. Her body is distorted by age and osteoporosis. I feel sad -- that she was an important working woman -- a beacon for many many people who don't want to retire, who want to keep working as long as possible.

I think, without work she will be intolerably alone. She will feel useless. Work kept her alive and vigorous, and gave her a reason for being.

Though what she said was unacceptable and painful to me personally, I will miss her, the old guard, sitting in or near the front row, listening, absorbing, keeping in tune with the times.

I would feel okay if she continued attending the press conferences, and with conversations with her cohorts, she'd have a chance to undo, back away from what she said. I think she'd realize that her comment expressed an limited, ugly, compartmentalized mindset, and conversations with her peers will help her open her mind and change.

Helen Thomas has an active mind and I feel it would be better for all of us, if she held on to her seat, her place in the press corps.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


"Hey, Teach, I know the answer!" calls a kid who is waving his hand.

"Anyone else?" The teacher looks around the classroom, uneasily. "Teach" doesn't like the collection of colorful rubber-band bracelets, or the thumbs up grin the kid is giving to the other boys and girls, who are also bedecked with rubber-bands around their wrists.

(Teachers have been told, already, in more than three states, the "Silly-Bandz," the new fashion craze for kids, cannot be worn in the classroom.)

But Teach herself, is wearing Jennifer Anniston's hair style, and pooched-out, lipsticked lips, ala Angelina Jolie. Her hair and lips style isn't hot hot, but it's very NOW. Also, her skirt -- middle of the thigh short and tight -- is definitely in vogue. Teach is also wearing pumps with the very latest six-inch high-heels.

And Teach knows that fashion is merely fashion. It isn't a craze, is it?

The kids note what Teach is wearing, and think she's cool. Their parents, and older siblings, relatives, neighbors -- all grown-ups do stuff, have stuff they do like everyone else -- iPhones, sketcher shoes, old hula hoops, new exercise gizmo getting dusty in the closet. Atari games, books, Polaroid cameras, the family car -- weren't SUV'S a craze, like Viagra?

C'mon, what's wrong with rubber-bands? 5 bucks will buy a you 24. They're harmless. Hey, high-heels -- Teach is going to get bunions. A wrist, even with 96 bands -- you're not cutting off circulation -- bandz snap back into shape -- heart shapes, gears, reptiles, dog-bones, frogs, guns, stars, dragons, dinosaurs -- you trade 'em, every day you check out who's got something new.

It's a nice hobby like a stamp collection. And gee, everyone knows the more you forbid something, the more it's desired.

Hey, maybe ... if we keep on forbidding the bandz, then kids can have a secret craze that'll last longer. It'll keep them safer than yet another craze like mephedrone plant food, or a ... a ... militia, a kids' militia, with rubber-bands turned into sling shots. That could get dangerous!

I think we need fads -- we need crazes. It's part of growing up, becoming mature.

Remember the days, early nineties, when thumbs up or down became the cool way to say yes or no? I thought it was dumb -- something I'd never do.

I say, thumbs UP on rubber-band bracelets.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


She gestures, smiles, chuckles, points a knowing-finger, conveying half-truths and her ideas,
her all-over-the-place constructs for solving the nation's problems ...

I cringe, I feel like yelling SHUT UP -- instead, I find myself shaking my head, listening to her, marching with her down her wrong track.

Her track is absolutely, definitely, unequivocally NOT my track! It's WRONG, but ... okay -- I march along with her to find out what she's selling, telling, promoting and convincing many people to believe.

Sarah P's getting more powerful. And with her the Tea Party. And there is the possibility that she'll be running for president in 2012 on their ticket. Or with Romney on a Republican-ish platform, while the old guard, the tight-faced bigots, keep on killing anything/everything Obama proposes.

What's intolerable is Palin telling the President of the United States that the Oil Spill is his fault. She said: "With your nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you’re doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You’re not preventing environmental hazards; you’re outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous."

Then, she said, "Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas!"

Good God! Palin is undermining the White House's efforts, all our discussions, thoughts, prayers, all our efforts to put a stop to what's happening and make sure it can't, it won't happen again.

Please, excuse me for exploding -- hooting, cheering the nasty cracks, the latest hoo-hah over Sarah P's boobs. Sure, they're bigger, but she's fatter, she's gaining weight, which she hates -- all women hate looking older, more matronly, less girlish -- oh yes, I love the jabs, the jokes about her boob job.

Please, someone -- give SP a title, an office, a fabulous job selling something that will be the subject of another book she can sell on a gigantic world book tour! Yay, yes -- and be optioned by a movie producer, paid a ton of money, plus gorgeous outfits, while she's shooting in ... in .. Siberia, Saskatuan OR Somalia -- oh whoopee -- Sarah P, Helen of Troy of Alaska, on prow of a pirate ship pointing the way ...

Okay, I'm babbling, blowing off steam -- I don't know what we can do about Sarah Palin. The thought of her being more important scares the hell out of me.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I am focused on this guy. I don't want to be. I'm annoyed, pissed off by the fact that I'm hooked on his story again ...

The murder of Stephany Flores, a Peruvian girl -- the way he did it -- what he's confessed says Joran is a sociopath, a remorseless killer ...

I wonder if his lawyer can finagle something. A tenacious, determined lawyer looks for loopholes and often finds them. If the lawyer gets Joran back to Mom in Aruba -- there we go again, with Aruban courts fiddling around, rehashing what happened five years ago.

I don't want to hear all the details again, about the 17-year-old girl with the two "ees" on the name her doting mother gave her. I don't want to see, again, Natalee's attractive, oval face, eyes-outlined, not flatteringly, blonded hair, her dancing adequately in an chorus line with other classmates similarly celebrating that they were almost, but not quite grown-up, sexy girls.

Natalee was not, in my opinion, exceptionally pretty, talented, or a girl with an especially important future, but she was a beloved, nurtured daughter with her mother's dreams bubbling around her. I felt her mother's pain. All the sentences I've read about the child dying before the parent bring back my mom, screaming, unable to stop screaming when the phone call came and told her my brother's body had been found in the cold water, next to an overturned canoe.

Aside from morbid curiosity about the murder -- I wonder if he's spoken to his mother, how she's taking it -- her husband had a heart attack and died earlier this year.

And Natalee's Mother -- she looks better than she did a few years ago --younger, botoxed maybe -- I still feel her pain; and sense a twisted bitterness in her.

Okay, Joran grabbed us again. We're gobbling up whatever the media serves, swallowing expert opinions about a psychopath -- we want him to suffer, be punished, pay for the endless days he had us feeling sorry for the Holloways.

Chewing on the news, digesting what little there is to digest -- oh good, I'm thinking, noting Joran's less handsome looks -- frown lines, anger, insolence on his face. I think he's haunted by what happened five years ago. He needed to punish the Peruvian girl for trivializing him. Punching, slamming, choking the girl, he was blaming all the other women in his life for what he doesn't have, and throwing away -- trivializing -- his own life.

He trivialized what his parents gave him. Those tender hugs and encouragement Mom gave him -- the help, succor, the money Dad gave him -- he thinks Mom and Dad screwed up --it's their fault that he isn't the dreamboat, leading-man hero they wanted him to be.

He doesn't care about the dead girls. He was punishing them as well as his parents.

I'm aware that focusing on Joran is easier, better than thinking about guys dying in Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear weapons, North Korea, Israel, Gaza... I'd rather think about Van der Sloot being raped, beaten up in jail, given a life sentence, than keep thinking, feeling hopeless, wondering how we are going to recover -- .at least in my life time -- from the oil.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Wham! The news hit us. That this couple -- who hugged, kissed, and embraced each other so lovingly in front of us, in front of the world -- that they are separating is a blow, a punch in the stomach ...

Not them? Yes them! But they love each other! Were they faking those kisses? Is it like John Edwards and Elizabeth - there's another woman? Another man for her?

But they've been together forever! She has her work, he has his work -- why separate? After how many years?

40 years! They belong together. They fit together. They're so right, together. They look right, they act right --they've always seemed like a loving couple.

We saw, we watched Hillary and Bill. If ever a couple had reason to separate, it was them .... Even now, we watch Bill Clinton, for Hillary's sake, thinking if he strayed again -- knowing he's got a pattern, a need, he's probably playing around-- and yet, respecting them both, we're admiring the way they're handling being apart and nevertheless together. We realize they're a great couple. Infidelity doesn't have to destroy a couple.

The fact is, if the Clintons separated we wouldn't be shocked. We're shocked about the Gores.

Is it one of the typical problems -- money? A religious difference? (That doesn't make sense after they've been together 40 years.) What about their children. Their daughter has announced that she's separated from her husband. Is Tipper encouraging the daughter and Al doesn't agree.? But surely that couldn't be the reason, could it?

It could.

It could be sex. They've been apart, off and on, for a long time. They, like all of us, have been made overly aware of sex statistics, how sex affects your health -- you need relaxation, orgasms, fun -- it could be a lovemaking thing!

That's not something to announce.

What's next? Rumors, paparazzi pictures? Enquirer photos, candid camera shots of something someone noticed somewhere ... Al conversing with a some environmental lady ... Tipper and a fellow photographer taking nature photos together?

I'm turning off my imagination. I've been married to my husband for a very long time. There are ups and downs; things happen, world events, friends, agents, managers, accountants, lawyers, minor incidents, major ones -- thousands of thoughts like thousands of birds migrate, appear, disappear, are shared, not shared, hidden, avoided, blurted out -- things that affect me, don't necessarily affect him, and sometimes affect him profoundly without my knowing it.

That's part of marriage. We are not one person, we are two separate entities. Yet, if we separated we'd still be together.

Maybe we're wiser than the Gores.

The Gores are truthful people in the limelight who are handling some things that are absolutely, totally, private, and none of our business.

My thought is -- let's keep it none of our business.