Saturday, September 4, 2010


You've had a look at my home, but you haven't seen the hallways.

The hallways, between our third floor offices and studio theater are where I've hung some of my paintings.

A Boston gallery owner who came to dinner here looked at them and said, "Hmm" un-enthusiastically, but he raved about my cooking.

Brace yourself -- have a look at my "Art Gallery."

Friday, September 3, 2010


Popular summer songs --
have you heard them?

I didn't plan to write about summer songs. but this picture in Time Magazine kept catching my eye -- the colors -- the cartoonish style. The credit says it's by "Love Dust." I found myself wondering what makes a pop hit worth turning the volume up, and driving along with the windows rolled down? According to movies I've seen, that's what people do, though it's not something I've ever done or will ever do, even with classical music that I love -- I don't like to inflict my music on passersby the way people with boom boxes did for years.

So here I am -- I've borrowed opinions and photos about the summer's top hits from Time Magazine's Website.
(#1) "Alejandro" -- Lady Gaga.
The review said, "If you like the spoken-word intros performed in terrible European accents, then this is the tune for you. But as catchy as this Ace of Base-esque radio hit is, it's also pretty depressing ... about broken hearts and forbidden love -- hardly the stuff of beach trips and suntans. And the bleak video, in which a pallid Gaga storms around in underwear and a PVC nun's habit, would be more appropriate in the dead of winter. Who's Alejandro, anyway?"

I agree -- I didn't love it -- I tried to like it but didn't enjoy it at all.

#2 California Gurls -- Katy Perry,
plus Snoop Dogg,
"The girl's a freak/she drives a jeep ..."

The most outstanding moment was Katy Perry in a bra.
Yes, she was
definitely '
while squirting
whipped cream
from her boobs.

The lyrics -- freak/jeep -- are not thrilling. The choreography was good. The dancers were raunchy. The costumes punctuated private parts in a Gaga gimmicky way, but not as innovatively. Even so, it was fun to watch.

Airplanes B.O.B -- plus Haley Williams.
It was described as "Southern Hip Hop, a tune
that could be the angstiest hit of the summer ...

the chorus about watching for shooting stars,
makes it an ideal excuse for
stargazing make-outs."

It made me sleepy.

"I like it" -- Enrique Iglesias
"He is good-looking, and ridiculously peppy,
in the kind of tune that gets played
at baseball games, as people
watch themselves dance
on the Jumbotron. It promotes
infidelity and its chorus
just repetitive enough to get stuck

in your head for weeks."

It was okay. I don't remember the tune.

The other summer hits were by Drunk Girls, Tangerine, Waka Waka, Sprawl II, Rill Kill. If you've got a favorite, please let me know -- I'm trying to get educated, while ... um ... keeping my blog readers, young and old, more or less up-to-date with what's going on in our world.

I have to say, the summer songs were rather interesting, exciting, but it's not music that makes me feel like dancing. But that picture by "Love Dust" -- that's interesting and exciting and makes me feel like choreographing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Do you have any secret, private stuff in your background that you don't want revealed? A police report? Were you ever arrested?

What about your credit report? Were you ever fired from a job? Have you ever fudged your birth date? Was it on your Facebook profile? Was there a different date on another social networking Website?

Well, it's "Digital Dirt." There are ways you can fix it!

Can really bad stuff be fixed -- like a resume that mentions stuff you never did, jobs you didn't really have, courses you didn't take?

Don't worry. You can hire someone to erase, kill -- lies, ugly pictures, fake college credits, even personal measurements -- you posted.

"Reputation Management" is a booming business. Check it out online. You'll find different types of fixers.

"Personal branding strategists" are the most expensive -- a strategist might charge $2,000 to $10,000 for services. They are specially trained as well as certified. They guarantee you, "Your digital footprints can be fixed."

Another fixer is ReputationDefender. com. It was founded four years ago by Michael Fertik, thirty-one, a Harvard Law School graduate, who didn’t like the way young people’s online behavior could be permanently recorded on the Internet, and haunt them later.

The cost for Reputation Defender is much more reasonable -- between $10 a month and $1,000 a year.

Fertik's company (staff of 110), stuffs positive "factual’’ or “neutral news" into various search engines. They stuff in multiple profile pages, so that when your name is searched, the searcher will find a lot more information and different details.

When different details are repeated a few times, the person checking on you will go with the more frequently mentioned information. The stuffing strategy gets your newest, current "good" information onto the first page of the search engine, like Google, and according Fertik, most people "don't look beyond the first or second page."

Ferik said, “Good stuff pushes the negative stuff to the bottom."

Reputation Defender, with clients in 100 countries, says most of its clients are everyday professionals -- from teachers and lawyers to business executives and journalists. Fertik sets his own standards and won’t accept clients who have been convicted of a sexual crime against a child or a violent felony.

Fertig suggested if you're job hunting, raising money for a project, or applying for a grant -- Google yourself. If you find anything negative -- it could be something you posted years ago, or was put into cyberspace by someone who doesn't like you, even a perfect stranger -- pay attention.

"Fix it, do it right away!" is what Fertik advised.

It's what Reputation Defender or a personal branding specialist can handle for you, quickly and thoroughly, so that it won't come back and haunt you later.

If, on the other hand, you are hiring -- well, you can "do unto others what you'd don't want done unto you" -- check them out. Follow up on the references they've given you, and learn from what the head of Reputation Defenders said: Look at page one and two, and then thoroughly study the third, and forth pages, even a fifth page if you find it.

Do what the Pilgrim lady
is doing in this picture.
Pick up the shovel,
and dig for the dirt.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I came across a Viagra centerfold, in Time Magazine -- yes a centerfold -- a handsome, extra thick, double-page, full-color advertisement.

I tore it out, annoyed by it. I don't want to see it every time I open my magazine.

And I'm offended by those erectile dysfunction ads that start in the morning, and continue throughout every day, every evening -- the tender quietly smiling couple, not young, but not old, and the nice guy with a nice voice selling us the usual promises with the usual IF's and WHEN's to call your doctor.

C'mon, I tell myself -- ads are the price you pay for watching television -- you can turn off the volume, turn off the set, change the channel.

Actually, I think "erectile dysfunction" is brain-washing us.

Kids, (boys and girls), grow up thinking the lovey-dovey business that everyone whispers-chuckles-snickers about, and DOES -- it can't happen, won't happen if you don't take a pill.

Also, what about bad things -- the side effects from using these pills -- how many failures, how many dangerous uses/abuses, how many teens, pre-teens, sexually active kids are addicted to them? And has anyone died from using them?

Are they addictive? If you're using Sildenafil Citrate (that's the ingredient in all of them), do you have to keep taking the pills?

Clinical trials of Sildenafil Citrate were begun in 1992. They involved 3000 men 18 to 87. The drug was patented in 1996, approved for use for erectile dysfunction by the US Food and Drug Administration on March 27, 1998, becoming the first oral treatment approved to treat erectile dysfunction in the United States. (That's when it was offered for sale here as "Viagra.")

A similar drug, Cialis, "Tadalafil," a few years later, was evaluated in clinical trials of 4,000 patients, 27 to 87 years old.

Levitra, "Vardenafil" had clinical trials involving 6,000 men with impotence problems, but no dates or ages were mentioned.

Since Viagra has been used by men since 1998, obviously some guys have been using it for twelve years.

What about side effects? Sleepiness, sleeplessness, and food/sex appetites? What happens to the tissues, to other organs that are affected by using this sort of drug daily?

Remember cigarettes? They were safe. And then slowly, as millions and more millions all over the world took up smoking, very gradually, too late we learned that cigarettes caused cancer.

Aside from the psychological dependency on these potency pills, what about physiological dependency? I looked this up on the Internet, and looked some more -- rephrased my searches and searched some more. The only further clinical trial of Sildenafil Citrate was as a pain reliever for women with Dysmenorrhea, (painful monthly cramps), and that study was never finished.

I couldn't find a sentence, paragraph, or any reference to what happens to you and your potency problem, if you use one of these pills for a while, and thenquit using them.

Am I adding to your worries? I don't want to. There are too many things going on that are scary, unhealthy, life-threatening. (If you've wondered about potency, this link compares various treatments --

I'm not planning a Viagra protest. I write posts on subjects that I find myself wondering about, so. if you've ever wondered about it, I'd love to know!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Yes, Kevin Kline is an Tony winning, Oscar-winning actor who can do anything -- sensitive guy (in "The Big Chill") to utterly nutty eccentric ("A Fish Called Wanda"), and right now he's into playing a wildly freaky, penniless social escort to wealthy widows, in "The Extra Man," a new movie that's getting raves.

I can't help stopping what I planned to write today, and drifting into memories of Kevin, Madeline Kahn, and John Cullum back in 1978, remembering "On the Twentieth Century," the musical the three of them were in.

It's all mixed in with Hal Prince, the producer, director, and Larry Fuller the choreographer; the rehearsals, the staging -- Kevin and John doing a duet together called "Mine" -- where John Cullum, unstoppably creative, was across the stage from Kevin, unstoppably creative.

I was at a lot of the rehearsals, saw all the previews, and of course I was at the opening night performances. Behind the scenes JC and I worked, and "upped" (yes, made even more tricky, amusing, and acrobatically inventive) some of his staging. Though Larry was an excellent choreographer, he wouldn't have asked JC to sing a high note when JC was lying upside down on the floor.

They were fun days, exciting days, with everyone in rapport, but I was on tiptoe, carefully wondering what to say to JC about Kevin ... say nothing about this fantastically talented younger actor, who was as agile, strong-voiced, powerfully interesting as JC, who sometimes up-staged John?

Well ... Kevin won the Tony for "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical," but JC won the Tony as "Best Actor in a Musical."

Nevertheless, Kevin's gifts -- that he could sing while playing the piano, that he could be an MC and control huge audiences, that Kevin's abilities as a dancer were as good as my husband's -- oh dear -- were they better?

I have to say that Kevin Kline, whom we (JC and I) know personally and love and admire, IS a uniquely wonderful actor who has had more "success" in films, and theater than my husband -- "success" being fame, luck, fortune, rewards, awards.

Even so, Kevin is not a better actor than John, but he's the only actor around (so I'm excluding Richard Burton and Alec Guinness) that I admire as much as I admire John Cullum.

What more can I say?

I continue to think my husband is the number one best actor/man in the world, my world, even as I celebrate Kevin 's brilliance, and realize Kevin's continuing to grow, getting better and better, and better.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Ten years ago, when I lived in Malibu, I listened to Dr. Laura Schlessinger as I drove to the gym where I worked out, I heard her ads. I knew she was an author, and some sort of radio psychiatric adviser. It was a 25 minute drive.

Dr. Laura on the radio became my car buddy. Despite some of her moralistic book titles, and over-emphasis on being a stay-at-home-mom, "my son's mother," I liked her unpretentious, friendly tone with strangers. Sometimes there were interesting debates with men and women who passionately disagreed with her. Even then, she responded with an open mind that impressed me.

Since those days, and my ever-expanding use of the Internet, I haven't had much time to listen to her or visit her Website. She had a television show for a while, but the look of her didn't work -- the honest, friendly, real Dr. Laura seemed rather pinched, and schoolmarmish.

Well, Dr. Laura Schlessinger got herself into the headlines in mid-August.

"Nigger-nigger-nigger," she said, loud and clear, in a radio conversation with a black woman caller, reminding the woman that black comics and black sports heroes jokingly called each other nigger, and wasn't it ridiculous that whites were called bigots if they used the word.

The transcript of the actual conversation reveals that Dr. Laura was probably not listening carefully to the caller's question. Dr. L went on to tell the caller -- "A lot of blacks voted for Obama simply 'cause he was half-black. Didn't matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a black thing. You gotta know that. That's not a surprise!"

Dr. L: (Continuing) "We have more complaining about racism than ever. I mean, I think that's hilarious."

Caller: "But I think, honestly, it's because there's more white people afraid of a black man taking over the nation."

Dr. L:"It's hypersensitivity, bred by black activists. I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don't get it. Yes, I do. It's all about power."

Dr. L, repeated "nigger-nigger-nigger," once again, to show the caller how unimportant it was and implied that the fuss over the N word was silly.

The caller never got a chance to explain that she'd called Dr. Laura because her white husband's white friends seemed to ignore the fact that she was black. Their insensitivity upset the woman, and she wanted Dr. Laura's advice on how to handle it.

That Dr. Laura said "nigger" eleven times during her conversation with the caller created a furor. Listeners complained. The media grabbed the news and blew it up into a major hot air balloon. Bigger and bigger it became. Suddenly, Dr. Laura, who's been broadcasting on the radio nationally and internationally for thirty years, announced she was going to stop broadcasting on the radio because she couldn't say what she wanted to say, or use a word she wanted to use. Of course, this swelled into a huge pro-and-con debate about the N word, and freedom of speech.

Even as the babble, moans, and approval/disapproval comments were beginning to lose air, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and other anti-democrats huffed and puffed angrily, supporting the beleaguered Dr. Laura -- they believed her first amendment rights were being infringed upon. I think they were letting it be known that Schlessinger's N-word troubles revealed the deep aversion normal Americans have for the man in the White House.

The anti-Obamites use anything, of course, that's in the air, to show everyone that even his supporters don't like/respect him. With knowing smiles, they tell everyone that things will be better, of course, after the November elections cripple all the foolish legislation that the wrong guy in the White House cannot possibly implement.

So, does it matter if Dr. Laura said "nigger" or used the N word?

Her "Dr." is based on her PhD in physiology (it's a subcategory of biology), not psychology or psychiatry. Dr. Laura is not a counselor, adviser, mentor -- she makes blanket statements based on what she feels. For example, she has said, "homosexuality is a biological error," and quite recently at a military base, she told a depressed, war wife who was worrying about her husband, "He could come back without arms, legs or eyeballs, and you're bitching ? You're not dodging bullets, so I don't want to hear any whining."

Yes, I think Dr. Laura Schlessinger is an interesting celebrity, a rather unique sort of entertainer. Visit her Website. It's beautifully organized -- pick a topic. I can't say it will help you, but you'll have fun -- you'll get an earful of interesting advice, free of charge.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Should you have a gun in your house?

Could you use it?

Would you use it?

John Cullum and Emily talk about the security for their home in Manhattan, remembering the days when a gun would have come in handy.

Their building was not secure. Many things had to be done to the entrance door, and their doors and windows.

Even so, the Cullums continue to wonder whether or not to buy a revolver, and learn to use it.