Saturday, September 11, 2010


This is us, years ago.

We were in my "old" studio on the top floor of the building which we bought later on, and later turned into an attractive home..

JC didn't have a job yet. In the background, that's him with his head bowed, worrying about unpaid bills, as I was talking to the PR guy whom we couldn't pay, who was trying to sell a story about the Cullums to "Life" Magazine.

Even though we're much older and wiser now, and secure financially, and we both have good work to do, when I'm nervous, I'm like a child again -- like that day when we were behind in the rent, and I couldn't pay the $15-a- week rehearsal salaries for the eight dancers in my dance company.

My stomach was churning.

Click, and you'll find out how things got worse, when Mrs. Moglia called.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I want to write about Hillary.

Last week, before the actual Middle East peace talks in Washington, D.C. began, there she was -- and our Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton was perfect.

Yes! She was perfect in look, tone, and manner. She was gracious and comfortable, sitting in the center, between two leaders, She was completely in control, believably sincere, and radiated warmth, as she welcomed two deeply opposing, powerful men.

What a moment -- a confident but relaxed woman, hostessing two men who had not talked with each other for nearly two years -- two stocky, sturdy males with the anchored-to-the-ground demeanor of successful negotiators -- Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu, and Palestinian President, Abbas.

I knew they were there to hack out, if possible, a framework for compromise, a way of overcoming the deep disputes between Israel and Palestine and maybe, (please God) just possibly, achieving lasting peace.

As their facilitator-in-chief, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a brief speech -- not boring, not cliche -- an absolutely perfect speech urging them to rise above the suspicion and skepticism that has blocked peace efforts for decades. "By being here today, you each have taken an important step toward freeing your peoples from the shackles of a history we cannot change," she said.

The meeting was the beginning, the first in a series of meetings that Israel and Palestine and the U.S. have committed themselves to having, to see if there is any way a sovereign Palestinian state can exist next to a secure Israel.

The world will be listening and watching.

Hillary reached across the table. The men reached to each other across the table. That's what we saw, and I was thrilled by it.

How does she do it -- continue to grow, to take on the job and re-design herself, enable herself to handle it so well?

You can't NOT think, what would have happened -- where would we be now, if she had won, and become the candidate, and become the President.

Hillary the wife of Bill, the mother of Chelsea, the brilliant idea-person behind the scenes, who supported, loved, succored and worked with and for President William Jefferson Clinton -- stood by him through thick and thin -- that astoundingly shocking series of errors her man made and yet, gave us, shared with us, gifted us with a woman's love for a husband till death do them part.

Hillary the senator, Hillary the candidate, ever-expanding herself, and sharing and gifting us, gifting ME, with who she is and what a woman-person can do.

What a person with the dimensions -- knowledge, sensitivity, tactical mind, powers of observation, ability to absorb and adjust to changing circumstances, changing ideas -- what a Hillary-candidate-person and/or a Barack Obama-candidate-person can do!

I am blessed and privileged by my knowledge of her, and him -- Mr. Obama and Madame Clinton.

I don't know, no one knows if the two opposing foreign countries can come together but they're giving a try.

I don't know if the country and my friends -- and all the people who are vacillating, double-thinking, re-examining their feelings about where our President is taking us -- can regain a centered firm, strong sense of trust, and let the President do the job.

I do know that Hillary Rodham Clinton has given me a larger, clearer vision of who I am and what I can try to achieve and the zest -- thank you, thank you Hillary -- the zest to do my job.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Dear Mr. Beck.

I am sure you know that you are appreciated, revered by many people, and don't need my approval and applause.

You've done so many important things -- organized and created pro-and-con movements, been a strong presence in the media, and a stalwart promoter of ideas, ways to fix taxes, education, racial problems, immigration, and unemployment.

Your practical plans for reforming Wall Street Reform and Health Care Reform, reducing the size of the government, re-establishing and maintaining the successful elements of the status quo, will give us back the security, the peace of mind that we've lost -- and restore America to her position as the most powerful nation in the world

Having heard you express your strategies for handling nuclear threats, solving the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, India, and Pakistan, recognizing your vast knowledge and understanding of foreign affairs, I am hoping and praying your advice to the President will be heeded -- (even though he is [as you say], incapable of resolving specifics, perhaps the Glenn Beck vision of democracy today can inspire and galvanize the White House).

Because you, Mr. Beck, have succeeded in just about every project you have ever undertaken -- acquired status, wealth, homes, investments, and personal security for yourself and your family as well as your many employees -- I know that you are not only blessed, but also, you are a most beloved commander.

I am writing to tell you how impressed I am by your new Website, "Blaze," which I plan to peruse daily, because it will keep me in tune with the times.

Perhaps, Mr. Beck, as you make plans for 2011 and 2012, you will conclude that we the people, your fellow Americans, do not need a Democracy right now, but a Commander in Chief -- a Glenn Beck -- a man who can dictate to everyone in the government, what they need to do.

Sincerely yours,

EM of Em's Talkery

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Dear A ... B ...C ... D... E ... F... G .. H ... etc:

Whoever you are, I know who you are.

When you send me messages, or put comments on my blog, you are real, a person I know, and I am talking to you.

It could be your picture (on your FB profile), your photos, videos, or your lack of them, or the interesting graphic -- the symbolic self that you change every so often -- or the albums, or list of friends you have. It could be an insignificant something or other that you have posted.

I want you to know that I remember -- anything you've communicated goes into my brain -- any words on your page, or in anything you've written to me -- it goes in and stays in what my husband calls my "hopper."

I absorb your words and tone and rhythm or lack of it, stiffness, inhibition, tendency to apologize, sense of humor, vaguely sexy or definitely not vague implications -- I sense solidness, lost-ness, even vague unease. I remember what you've conveyed -- not the names -- the importance of certain people, events, things you've done, or mention that you lack.

Yes -- you come and go. You might disappear and stop reading my blog for a long time but if you return, I KNOW who you are. Even if you don't return, the reverberations of our back-and-forthing remain. After I wonder what happened to you, and specifically notice "I haven't heard from so-and-so, I move you to a someplace cloud. Remembering what we exchanged, I deliberately move the cloud out of the way to make space for the current people.

I feel what I am saying as I write -- even when I have a lot of messages, I react to whatever you're discussing, relating it to other things you've said.

Whew! It can be a tower of Babel.. Sometimes it's easy -- other times I'm sort of hmm, mm, umming , because I've allowed myself to think about something else and am slightly distracted.

Are there misspellings in my replies to you? Well, if your hands were on a keyboard between eight and twelve hours a day, that's what happens. My mind moves faster than I can type.

I'll say it again -- dear J ... K ... L ... M ... N ... O ... P ... etc ... I know who you are.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A giant ice island broke off the Petermann Glacier three weeks ago. Seriously worrisome headlines have been appearing ever since.

Four times the size of Manhattan? The island of Manhattan is 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide? FOUR times the size is 53 miles long, 9.2 miles wide.

Nothing that large has broken off from the glaciers in fifty years.

Right now it's threatening the shipping lanes in the North Atlantic and the state of Washington. The melting ice below the surface of this monster is raising the level of the water.

What should we do? What can we do?

Engineers in Washington state want to anchor tow-ropes. They say they can drill holes, attach anchors, attach ropes -- tow ships can exert a 50 ton pull and pull the iceberg off its course.

Canadian engineers say they can release a huge volume of bubbles under the edge of the iceberg until the bubbles lift the edge, and then the iceberg will begin to move.

Gee, golly -- even if it moves, it's still there, melting, threatening the area, and if another slab, another island breaks off another glacier ...?

And some people are still wondering, asking, debating whether or not there's global warming?

What further proof do we need than this iceberg, and the killer heat and smog in Russia, the fires, that have been driving residents from Moscow and destroying Russia's wheat crop -- the fifth of Pakistan that's underwater -- the millions of people devastated by floods in Asia -- the heat wave that's been broiling Mexico and the east coast of the U.S.?

Is the Petermann iceberg a warning from God and Mother Nature that's telling us it's time to build the ark?

The world is our ark. If we want our world to survive we have to stop everything that we've been doing that's warming the globe.

Monday, September 6, 2010


What's been happening in the continent of Africa is a nightmare. I picked this picture of a boy holding an apple because kids are hungry and "Apple" is providing jobs for many Africans. Apple's success is being touted in the media, inspiring questions and comments about why the White House can't do better for our country's unemployed.

Anyhow, in Africa -- oh my -- there's been a blur of unsolved problems, serious troubles, crimes in South Africa and other names and places on the African continent that I've heard of, but haven't been sure where they are -- so here's a map ----->

In Nigeria -- oil spills caused by Shell, Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron -- disease, filth, poisoned drinking water -- no one to talk to/write/call for help -- a black tide -- since the fifties -- a thick, gooey oil stain oozing over vast tracts of land and poisoning the air for millions of Africans --13 million barrels of oil --7,000 "spills," between 1970 and 2000 -- locals with sore eyes, breathing problems, skin lesions -- 2,000 oil-polluted sites have never been fixed or cleaned up.

In the Congo --many of the bad guys are the good guys at Apple, AT&T, HP the major electronics companies that manufacture laptops, music players, cameras, phones. Yes, the CEO's of these big companies swear they've got papers to prove that they don't buy "blood diamonds" -- minerals, raw metals that financed civil wars, militia atrocities in the Congo, where miners were coerced, for a pittance ($1 to $5 a day), to dig for metals that component manufacturers converted into capacitors and circuit boards.

"Oh no," say the good guys -- “All of our suppliers certify in writing that they use conflict-free materials. And we pay our employees in Africa, in comfortable clean workshops, with breaks and snacks, what everyone pays — if we didn't, we would be damaging the livelihoods of other businesses."

So is Apple paying employees $1 to $5 a day? Even if they're paying a bit more, with no health care, or social security, no wonder they're doing a lot of hiring in South Africa.

I haven't heard that anyone is pursuing this issue -- other shocking events in Africa have pushed extreme poverty, and possibly greedy employers out of the headlines.

In the Congo last week, there was sheer horror. The perpetrators of Rwandan genocide, and their pals, returned to punish the Hutu. Systematically, in groups of two to six men, they raped two-hundred women and young boys -- a four-year-old, and babies who were one-month, six-months, a year-and-eighteen months old -- gang raped them repeatedly in front of other members of their families.

Chopping off their heads might have been more merciful.

And what's happening in Africa, here, there, in too many places for me to specify, is NOT stopped, NOT noticed, NOT prevented. I want to cover my eyes, and not read what I've read. I want to shout at the electronic kingpins -- don't make any electronic stuff, don't import anything from Africa -- but gee, it's work for unemployed Africans who are trying to feed their kids, like the kid with the apple.

I'm shouting at myself -- stop writing this post -- what can you possibly gain? The oil spills, won't get fixed. The abusive treatment of the farmlands and homes and the lives of these people will continue.

So, I'm passing the details on to you, so you can help me figure out what to do. Does it mean don't buy Apple AT&T, HP, Shell, Mobil-Exxon, Chevron, or anything BP sells? Does it mean while we are seeing BP's constant, beautifully made ads that are telling us how well they are handling our problems, they are obscuring and bending, and re-shaping realty?

I am saying -- don't believe the ads -- believe the nightmare! And keep your wits about you as you're thinking about what's wrong with our country and what you can do to help fix it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Emily Frankel surprises John Cullum -- out of the blue, she asks him to talk about the "writer guy" who also lives in their house -- William Shakespeare.

Aside from the "Beethoven" John, who writes music and lyrics, there's another John Cullum who knows and collects different versions of everything Shakespeare wrote -- scripts, different adaptations, a couple of editions of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, editions of Shakespeare Variorum -- they're on shelves in every room in their house, upstairs and downstairs.

That John loves Shakespeare delights Emily, as she gets her husband onto one of his most favorite subjects.